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.
My teaching practice has changed dramatically over the last 8 months as a result of the Shirley Clarke action research project. If someone said rewind and teach the way you did before… I would leave teaching and open a bookshop (my back-up plan!). I feel invigorated, inspired, supported and excited for the next phase.
This was our final poster – we were tasked with reporting back on Effective Questioning. As part of our presentation, Alison and I got Gloucestershire heads taking part in a ‘Is cheating ever ok – debate’ as well as a 16 x 25 mental maths number talk. If you can’t do it in under a minute…ask a KS2 Minchinhampton pupil! Top tip halving and doubling is the way to go!
Next steps: To pour our new skills into our school book project (A Portal in Time) with Patron of Reading, John Dougherty. Publication March 2017 by the History Press and book launch 10th June 2017. See our School Book Project blog for further details.
Best reads: Outstanding Formative Assessment by Shirley Clarke, Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler and Number Talks by Sherry Parrish.
‘The kinds of questions teachers ask determine how far the discussion deepens children’s learning and understanding.’ (Wiliam 2008)
After embedding metacognition through learning powers, growth mindset and the learning pit, we worked on higher level questioning.
We trained ourselves using these question sets, a week at a time, until we were fluent in questioning. We team taught in lesson study groups, Japanese style, to hone our lesson delivery.
eg. In P4C
Is cheating in the Olympics the same as cheating in tag?
Can you justify your opinion?
What would someone who disagreed with you say?
What is the difference between that view and your view?
Is there another point of view?
Heated discussion prevailed. Opinions from the two camps included:
… guides the direction of a lesson and planning for individual needs.
… essential for good learning.
… allows us to respond to needs quickly.
… allows us to find out what they know, understand and where they make errors, and have misconceptions, when they are not engaged.
… allows learning needs to be evaluated at every stage to ensure all children are making progress and for next steps need to be informed.
… guiding questions through use of P4C can lead to deeper understanding on the part of the teacher or pupil.
As Wiliam said ‘We need to activate learners as instructional resources for one another.’. An unexpected outcome has been the children taking the questions from us and using them on each other. Pupil autonomy in action and of course they listen to each other more than they listen to adults!
Today was an excellent opportunity for all the participants of Shirley Clarke’s Action Research Project to celebrate what they have learned and achieved with the children over the past year. The open sharing of findings amongst schools has been a unifying and humbling experience and has been a great source of inspiration.
We were proud to deliver our results to our guests today in such a positive and growth-mindset environment. And now we are all so excited to continue to spread the word!
“Chewy, my ship is fixed! Let’s get outta’ here. I’m excited to try new things, see new places. Don’t worry if it goes wrong! We’ve learned from our mistakes haven’t we Chewy? We just won’t get involved with The Rebellion again.
Get a growth mindset about you. Don’t just be a walking carpet Chewy. C’mon!”
The unveiling of Learning Power 5 coincided with our Japanese style whole-school Lesson Study. This event, which is set to become a termly fixture due to the awesomeness of the experience, took place in week 7 of Term 5. All teaching staff met in our Key Stage groups on Monday after school. Our mission, which we chose to accept, was to plan a problem solving based maths lesson pulling together as many features of growth mindset, Philosophy for Children and formative learning as we could muster. Putting our golden year of staff development towards a cutting edge formative learning experience for the children – and as it turned out – for us.
The Japanese model
‘Japan has succeeded in developing a system that not only develops teachers but also develops knowledge about teaching that is relevant to classrooms and sharable among the members of the teaching profession… When Japanese teachers plan a lesson collaboratively, they treat the result as a joint product whose ownership is shared by all in the group. When one teacher teaches the lesson and the others observe, problems that emerge are generally attributed to the lesson as designed by the group, not to the teacher who implemented the lesson. It thus becomes possible for teachers to become critical without offending their colleague. The discussion can focus more pointedly and deeply on the merits and deficiencies of the lesson and on the process of revising and improving it.’