ACTION RESEARCH: PUPIL EVALUATIONS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING: AUTUMN 2017
Researcher: N Moss: Minchinhampton
Context: Year 5/6 French
Desired Outcomes: Feedback from pupils that leads to a cognitive rather than an emotional response in the teacher; that has a positive impact on the way teaching and learning is delivered.
Method 1: Informal discussion with pupils in lessons … ‘How do you feel about learning French this way?’…. ‘Is there any other way you would like to learn French?’
Method 2: ‘Two Stars and a Wish’ slip handed out to pupils who wanted to give an evaluation. Made clear to evaluation partners that evaluations had to be positive and build on strength (see feedback policy). Also the feedback would not be anonymous.
At both stages the feedback was constructive / instructive and led to changes in the way the French was being taught- in the first place towards more opportunities for conversational French- to culminate in a French day and in the second place towards the use of drama in French lessons. As a teacher it felt positive and also right that the pupils themselves were the ones defining how they learned.
The feedback worked especially well because careful parameters were laid down for the ‘evaluation partners’ (in line with the school’s new feedback policy) including the need for all feedback to be overwhelmingly positive in nature and where suggestions/ constructive criticism was to be offered, it was best if it built on an existing strength, rather than a flaw in the teaching. It was made clear to those doing the evaluation that they had a responsibility, as evaluation partners, to consider carefully the possible impact of their words on the person being evaluated; to ensure it led to some good thinking as opposed to anyone taking offence.
Typical feedback was carefully written and qualified. For example: ‘I like the way everyone is calm about French and if anyone lacks confidence they know no one will make fun of them…….I like the way we can work with different people and act it out and if neither of us knows how to say something, we can ask the teacher…..I think it would be great to turn our conversations/ acting into a film or a drama for younger pupils.’
There is no doubt in my mind that the pupils felt a little more empowered in their learning because someone had asked their opinion about how they would like to learn, especially when this has then been put into action- eg with the proposed French Day of conversation.
1. The anxiety over asking pupils about the teaching was allayed by the positive parameters within which the evaluation partners had to work.
2. The quality of the feedback was refreshingly fair and useful.
3. Asking the pupils their opinion felt right and seemed to empower the pupils.