Timing

It’s been a crazy, busy time of the year. The days are shorter and the weather cooler and lately wetter. The winter blues have well and truly set in. These have not been helped by five years living in the tropics. My first winter in half a decade is biting hard. Meanwhile, the relentless march of the academic year continues. Sickness has hit as well, with 2 bouts of the flu about 3 weeks apart, which co-incidentally fell into line with my last two PLD observations.

Our PLD this year has us being observed twice a term as well as appraisal on top of that. On one level this does feel like overkill but on the other it is a useful opportunity to reflect on our practice and make the effort to improve.

This weeks observation was focusing on getting students to take more ownership of their work and be able to start assessing how they are doing for themselves.  The handing over of control is not one of the easiest things to do and is something I have grappled with. The lesson itself was quite different to what I am used to. I spent very little time at the front of the class and the students spent the time working on their activity in a small group or alone. I circulated round to clarify things if needed, at one point having to clarify something for the whole class on the board so that they could move on.

Overall, the class rose to the challenge and, with the exception of a few students, were engaged and completing their work. In my feedback session I found that most of the students had some idea of what they were doing and why. I said the aim was for the students to self and peer assess their work later in the week. I was given the advice to give the students a chance to self-check their work against the criteria before they finished so they could plan the rest of their work.

I did this and some of the students used the form well to plot out next steps for learning, however, a number of the students put minimal effort into the actual reflection. Instead they wrote things like ‘nothing’ or ‘everything’ instead of being specific. This shows me that they have not yet been trained in the art of self-review and planning, so this gives me something  to work on and a skill to give them. When I have the time.

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