October 31, 2012

Assessment for learning (continued)

What strategies did this teacher use to support the pupils in understanding the grade descriptors?

The teacher provided the actual grade descriptors; students worked in groups to identify differences between grades, not just focussing on writing skills but the different levels of writing skills; the teacher talked about sharing information and being open.


Assessment for learning (continued)

Think about a topic within your subject that pupils often have difficulty with. Look at a range of tasks that are used in the teaching of this topic. Which ones encourage pupils to both develop and show understanding of

what they have learned?

Negative numbers – The use of a number line is the most common visual representation of negative numbers. However, students still find it very difficult to move to and from negative numbers, especially moving from a greater negative number, in absolute terms, to smaller one. Tools used to help students include the temperature analogy. Students can then see how numbers change from one country to the next as the temperatures increase, or how the temperature changes in the desert from day to night.


Assessment for learning (continued)

Think of some situations in your own subject where you may not want to share the learning objectives near the start of the lesson. Why would it not be appropriate to share the learning objectives in this situation? What support can you give pupils instead that would enable the pupils to understand what they are learning?

Example – probability and the law of large numbers; to demonstrate that the ration of heads to tails when a fair coin is tossed converges to 0.5 as the number of trials increases; scaffolding question to be provided along the lines of record the ration of heads to tails after 10, 20, 30, 40….

This experiment could be reinforced using a fair dice.


Assessment for learning (continued)

In the lessons you have observed so far, what different strategies have different teachers used to share the learning objectives or learning outcomes with their pupils?

Learning objectives displayed on white board, learning objectives mentioned at the start of lesson; teacher asking the class what was looked at lesson and asking them to explain what was planned for the current lesson; learning objectives are always written in pupil friendly language; one teacher explained that sometimes not giving away the lesson plan until the students have gone through self-discovery can be extremely effective.


Assessment for learning

What would you do if over half of your class has shown that they have not understood the topic thoroughly?

Misconceptions/source of confusion needs to be identified through discussion; homework to be rethought; next lesson plan to be altered; scheme of work to be checked and possibly amended; evaluate the lesson and consider a different teaching approach for the next lesson.


Communication and questioning (continued)

Design TWO closed questions and TWO open questions for a particular topic in your subject, each of which will challenge your pupils in different ways.

Closed – What is the ratio of the diameter to circumference of a circle? What does 2/4 simplify down to?

Open – What information about the population does the graph tell you? How can you Improve Blank’s explanation as to why the x’s cannot be cancelled here?


Communication and questioning (continued)

Describe the key behaviours that lead you to believe the teacher is undertaking that type of listening.

Skim – Teacher not totally focussing on the pupil, eg looking at notes, writing on board, hurrying the pupils on

Survey – Listening carefully without asking questions or probing for more information.

Search – Listening carefully and asking questions to find the required information

Study – Very difficult to distinguish between search and study listening, apart from study may involve great focus on behalf of the teacher as more information is being observed.


Communication and questioning (continued)

Write down the possible advantages and disadvantages of different versions, with a particular focus on how different layouts might affect teacher

Small groups – Facilitate group work and discussion, appropriate for pupil led teaching. A disadvantage can be that the groups have to be selected appropriately. Easy to walk around the class and have discussions with students. It may lead to too much noise during teacher led exercises. Also some children may be facing away from the front of the class.

Rows – Appropriate for teacher led sessions; however not conducive to group work or pupil led learning. Difficult for the teacher to walk around the class. When he/she does, pupils will have them backs to the teacher. Overall it is more appropriate for traditional teaching styles, ie lecturing empty vessels.

Individual / paired desks – Not conducive to group work. Space may be a limiting factor. More suitable to formal assessment.

One large table (conference style) – Very good system for whole class discussions. Space may be a limiting factor.

Communication and questioning

Write down all the ways you think a teacher could “help their pupils to express themselves”

Ensuring question selection methodology which ensures that all children contribute to class discussions; encourage debate and diversity of opinions; feedback to student answers should aim to build their confidence; ensure the children get experience at presenting to the rest of the class; mini white boards; hand/finger responses to questions (possibly eyes closed for anonymity).


Behaviourism (continued)

Effect of discussion on pupil learning

During a citizenship lesson, children watched a film about a child who was being bullied. The teacher provided a spectrum of the possible responses of the bullied child with ‘be manlier and stand up for yourself at one end of the spectrum and ‘do anything to fit in at the other end of the spectrum. The class were asked to hold up fingers (one to ten) to indicate their preferred position on the spectrum.

Two children at opposite ends of the spectrum were asked to explain their views, whilst standing at opposite ends of the classroom. Other pupils contributed to the debate in turn and the two pupils reacted to the arguments by changing their position on the spectrum.

This was a very visual and effective method of teaching pupils about the effectiveness of discussion and debate. Not only did it teach the pupils about the specific topic of bullying, it demonstrated how views can be changed through discussion and debate.


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