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how to prove to observers that students have learnt and made progress

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by fantastischfish, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    This is the key. I observed a trainee on Friday. At the beginning of the lesson, she asked them some questions and they gave the right answers. They then proceeded to put into practice what they already knew. Lovely sense of achievement for the kids; they felt clever and were engaged because they could do it. I marvelled for a minute at how this teacher had managed to get even naughtiest children in the class so engaged when I often struggled (with 8 years' experience).
    Then it occurred to me: she was asking them to do things they already knew. They felt great about thaat. It was an easy lesson. They all did the written work required and it was a lovely lesson with lovely relationships, a great deal of respect shown etc.
    But had they made progress? No.
     
  2. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    Sounds like a lovely lesson Eva_Smith - but I assume if no child had made any progress an observer would grade this as unsatisfactory. That is what annoys me about the current observation framework... Sometimes showing you have remembered things from a previous lesson, revising skills or generally having a lesson where everyone can be creative etc. feel much better to teach than those where you need to get in AfL every 7 minutes, do the 3 part lesson, constantly push students to progress further. It feels like a perpetual uphill battle for me - must feel similar for them!
     
  3. One of the best ways is also one of the hardest ways, and you have to be quite brave to try this.
    Give them the plenary at the beginning of the lesson. Let them see that they can't do it. Then talk about why they can't do it. What do they need to learn/know/understand in order to do it? What do they already know which can help provide a foundation?
    In answering these questions, the pupils will effectively be setting their own objectives for the lesson. This is why I say you have to be quite brave, because they may set different objectives to what you had expected (however, by choosing the plenary question/task carefully you can minimise this risk) so you need to be ready to go off-piste. I do this quite a bit in maths, and I think that the skills-based nature of maths lends itself to this quite well - but I'm sure it can be used in other subjects too.
     
  4. thattallteacher

    thattallteacher New commenter

    Why not get them todo a spider diagram of stuff that they know on the topic in one colour
    THen at the end they update the spider diagram with the stuff that they have learnt in a different colour
     
  5. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Yes, it was a nice lesson, but it wasn't one where the children made much progress. If the objective of your lesson is for the students to know X and Y, and at the beginning of the lesson you ask, "Can anyone tell me what X and Y are?" and the whole class can tell you, then you need to adapt your lesson plan PDQ.
     
  6. This sounds interesting, I'm probably being thick (or a bit sozzled after a couple of glasses of wine!) but please can you explain it further? What does the time line have on it? Tell me more...!
    Thank you x
     
  7. I've done this before, and I've seen others do it. It can be done really badly, so beware.
    When done badly, the starting point is effectively "I can't do this at all". The end point is "I can totally do this now!". Those two are fairly straight forward, but without clear explanation a class of 25 pupils will have 25 different interpretations of what placing their postit at different points on the line would mean. It can be hard for teachers to quantify what, for example, 40% progress towards the final objective is, so imagine how much harder it would be for the pupils.
    Therefore, to do it properly, you need to make it clear what the various stages on the journey look like - in other words, they need to understand the various objectives/outcomes and how to identify the success criteria attached to them. "When you've done/can do XXX then move your postit to here. Once you/ve done/can do YYY move it to here ... etc". There can also be specific questions/tasks for them to answer. If you confirm that they have done it correctly then that means they've moved on to stage 2 etc.
    Gandy may have had other ideas, but that's how I use it anyway.
     

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