Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsYeasmin: Hello, everybody, this is Assessment For Learning Video Diary, with Jane, and Yeasmin, and I'm going to kick off straight away with a comment made by Adriana. So she shared her learning with us, and her learning was all about some of the opinions she had at the start of the course, about allowing students to hold misconceptions in their head, and by the teacher, but then, since then, she's reconsidered one of her opinion, her opinion about that. A similar sharing was made by Emmanuelle, who also said pretty much the same thing, that she sort of changed her mind, about whether the teacher should allow students to hold misconceptions in their head, for an extended period in the lesson.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsSo, Jane, do you want to explain why giving the answer away too quickly is not a good idea?

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 secondsJane: Yeah, quite often, it isn't a good idea to... When you hear those misconceptions, you often feel, you've got that pressure of time, especially if you've got an exam group, and you want to give children the correct information. It feels like what a teacher does, isn't it? You know, you're a teacher, you find out what the children don't know, and you give them the facts. It can also feel a little bit dangerous, that those misconceptions and those wrong ideas can... It might be contagious, and soon, everyone in the class will think that, and they'll become so firmly embedded, you'll never be able to root them out.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsBut, in fact, if you let those ideas get talked about, and discussed, if you ask leading questions, let children with different ideas talk to each other, generally, what emerges isn't the wrong understanding, but the right understanding, especially if you're guiding them. So, a much deeper learning can take place, than if you just give that information too quickly. But, also, I've found with younger children, sometimes, they just aren't mature enough, to take on that understanding. I can remember doing a lot of work, when we've got snowy weather, just as we have now, where you were literally putting coats on snowmen, and wrapping up, and lumps of ice, with lots of insulation.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 secondsEven after that experience, my four-, five- and six-year-old children still firmly believed that if you put a coat on a snowman, it would melt him. They just weren't ready for that, to understand conceptually, that a coat could keep you warm, and keep you cold, and so, sometimes, you have to let those misconceptions fly for a very long time. They left my class with that misconception, but I'd given them loads of experience that would help them understand, as they got older. Obviously, you haven't quite got that luxury of time with your older pupils, but it's still worth letting them really explore the understanding they have got.

Skip to 3 minutes and 8 secondsYeasmin: Okay, thanks for that example, the insulation example. It's always interesting to hear a primary's perspective, being a mainly secondary, myself. So that's really interesting.

Skip to 3 minutes and 11 secondsJane: Isn't it?

Skip to 3 minutes and 11 secondsYeasmin: Okay. So, Jennifer mentioned about making mistakes. Making mistakes is, allowing the students to make mistakes, is really important. Because, especially for hinge point questions, because that's about flushing out mistakes, isn't it? That's because it allows us to address those mistakes. So it's just not about testing the students to see, did they get it? But it's about uncovering the nature of the mistake, so that we can intervene appropriately, okay? There is another level to this, as well. For example, let's say, our physics learning. Physics learning, I would say, perhaps more than most, relies on the students making mistakes as a part of the process of their learning.

Skip to 3 minutes and 57 secondsAnd they almost have to go through that phase, too, in order to come out at the other end, and if we don't have that culture of allowing mistakes, and even expressing mistakes, very, very, as part of this natural learning, then we run the risk of them again making shallow learning, rather than deep learning. So it's really important that we look at mistakes as facilitating the learning, and hinge point questions, obviously, where, if we're very careful about how we arrange the choice of answers, so that we have represented in the incorrect answers, a range of common misconceptions, then that helps with emerging the mistakes. So, Jane, you've got something to say about that, as well, haven't you?

Skip to 4 minutes and 46 secondsJane: Yes, I loved this answer from Jane, in Step 2.10. It's worth digging out her longer answer. This is just an extract from it, and she's got lots of really good ideas. But one I loved, was her idea she has an imaginary friend called Marvin, and he makes lots of mistakes. This is a great way of talking about mistakes with children, without correcting their ego. If you know that little Johnny in the corner believes, for example, that blue cars will always go fastest, and you pin that misconception on Johnny, that is going to affect his self-esteem, and his ego, and it'll be very difficult for him to let go of that idea.

Skip to 5 minutes and 12 secondsBut, if Marvin has that idea or another idea that we often use in the primary classroom, is, we have a puppet that will voice the idea. In my classroom, I often used to voice the misconception, and I'd say, "Oh, yeah, I think that this little kite is going to fly higher, because it's really small, and white, and it's not so heavy," and then, my colleague would say, "But I think that the big kite's going to fly higher."

Skip to 5 minutes and 36 secondsThen we'd actually test out our ideas, and that also gave me the opportunity to model being surprised at: "Oh, my gosh, what I always thought! Oh, I do love finding out new things." So that children see, there's nothing to be ashamed about, if you have a mistake, or a misconception, and it means that ego isn't involved in that learning. So that can be a really useful way, and doing that concept card is another way, where you get that misconception out, that mistake out there, but it's not pinned on a child. So, really, really useful technique. Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Jane.

Skip to 6 minutes and 24 secondsYeasmin: Okay. Moving on to a related comment, by Muketoi. Jane, did you want to comment on that one, as well?

Skip to 6 minutes and 36 secondsJane: Yes. Now this is almost saying the opposite, because Muketoi made that point that assessment's about finding out what children do know, not on uncoupling what they don't know. And I think that it's subtle. This is a very subtle and important point to make, so thank you so much for that, Muketoi. If you just use your assessment to find out what gaps children have in their knowledge, it's really hard to build, on the whole, isn't it? So, it's finding out exactly what children's understanding is, and then, building on their understanding, rather than trying to find out, "Oh, they don't know this particular fact.

Skip to 7 minutes and 9 secondsI'll just give them this fact," because, you're just dropping it into a hole, and there's nothing for it to build on. So, thank you very much for making that really important and subtle distinction, Muketoi.

Skip to 7 minutes and 16 secondsYeasmin: Lovely. So, really, Jane and I, what we discussed, didn't we, that it's like a yin or a yang of hinge point questions. So it's very much about, "I'm covering what they don't know, in-depth, what manner of misconception do they have, and what they do know, so that we can build upon it, and make links with their prime learning." So,

Skip to 7 minutes and 44 secondshinge point questions: incredibly powerful. So, that's been the sudden end to our video entry for this week. The next time we see you will be round about mid-March, which is just after the six-week stretch. So Jane and I look forward to seeing you around about mid-March. In the meanwhile, please do keep those hinge point questions coming in. We love reading them! Amazing range of responses. So, keep them coming, and see you soon! Bye!

Reflect on your learning with Jane & Yeasmin

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Assessment for Learning in STEM Teaching

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