Over the course of this last week I asked several of my KS3 classes, and my AS class to write their report on me. This was set in the context of having just (or just being about to set) learning goals, or completing reports for them. We discussed why we did this, and agreed that it helped them to get better at doing history. I said I wanted them to help me get better as a teacher and asked them to draw out a grid on a piece of paper.
The feedback was very interesting.
What Went Well
All age groups agreed that lessons were fun and interesting, and that I explained things well. A few people commented on that I made sure that they understood, and helped if they didn’t. Lots there to be pleased with.
Even Better If (Sixth form)
The sixth formers concentrated on what else they felt they needed to be to able to do to get the best from their learning. As a result we’ve spent more time looking at their note-taking technique, and methods for making sense of the sources (many of which are historians) which are included in their textbook.
Something I’m not keen to give them straight away was a summery sheet of notes. I suspect many would like this as they either find the size of the textbook intimidating or get bogged down in the detail. The reason I’m not going to do this straight away is that I want them to be better equipped than they are now to learn by themselves. Instead we’ve talking about using the ‘summary’ section in the textbook to provide themselves with an overview and a framework for their notes, and we’ll work together to put together summary sheets when we come to revision.
Even Better If (KS3)
Overwhelmingly, one message came through loud and clear. Slow down. So tomorrow the first thing I’m going to do is make a sign saying ‘slow down’ and stick it underneath the clock in my room.
The second most common comment was along the lines of ‘include everyone‘. I had always thought I made an effort to get everyone answering, but thinking back I suspect the students are right. So, to address this, I’m going to move to a ‘no hands up’ classroom for a few weeks, and draw names at random from a cup. I hope it has the positive impact that the AfL literature suggests that it does.
The next three comments were roughly equally common –
- More games (variations included more games on the board and ‘more interactive stuff’) – Going to consider this in my planning for this half term
- More group work – Will build more of this in over the next few weeks
- More time. This one interests me as I always try and set challenging time limits to get students to focus and get work down. I’ve found giving plenty of time results in lack of focus followed by panic, but I am going to consider carefully if I’m genuinely not giving enough time to activities / topics as we go through this half term.
Other things that popped up on one or two sheets and I’m going to try and address:
- Use more physical objects
- More mysteries / More problem solving
- Starter tasks [1. I do make use of these, but perhaps I need to do them more often]
- Activities suitable for different personalities
Overall, a very rewarding and thought provoking activity which I intent to repeat at least twice in the year and I would urge you to try!