Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondJANE WINTER: Hello and welcome to the second of Jane and Yeasmin's Planning For Learning Video Diaries. Really enjoying reading your comments. And we're going to talk about some of them now. Can I just say how nice it is, when we do the video diaries, if we can comment on real things that you've written. And we've been struggling this time, because not everyone's been giving us permission. I think just because they haven't noticed that we've asked. So can you look out for that, please. It makes the video diaries much, much better if we can comment on real people's comments. Thank you very much for this, Michael, you've raised a very important point.

Skip to 0 minutes and 36 secondsI think that's something that a lot of people think. That, you know, open questions have taken them up to the top of higher order thinking with your more competent students. And closed questions are a safer option for your less competent students. However, Michael, so before me, I think you raise a good point. I would challenge that. In that a closed question, the problem with a closed question is, it's only got one correct answer. And if you don't know the answer, you're wrong. And that doesn't nothing for your confidence. And I would also say, if you're going to give the students a question that they definitely know the answer to, you're not going be taking any risks with them, are you?

Skip to 1 minute and 19 secondsYou're not going to be challenging them. You're going to have to be asking them very safe questions. And I would also say, it's not a good idea to ask a question if you think you know what the answer is going to be. Because as teachers, I've done this so many times, you switch off, you stop listening to students, unless they say exactly what you want. And that is a real pitfall for missing what your students are saying. So I would say, you need to ask the right sort of open question. And on the next slide, there's an example of something called an Odd One Out.

Skip to 1 minute and 55 secondsAnd the great thing with a question like this is there are literally hundreds of correct answers at all sorts of levels. And it's almost impossible to be wrong. So if I said to a three-year-old, you know, here's a fish, and a tortoise, and a mouse. Which is the odd one out? A three-year-old might say, a mouse. Because I've got a pet mouse and I haven't gotten a pet fish and I haven't got a pet tortoise. Or another child might say, fish, because I like fish and I don't like mice or tortoises. And they would be correct answers. Whereas, a learned, with more information, might say, well, the tortoise, because it's the only one that's a reptile.

Skip to 2 minutes and 38 secondsOr the mouse, because it's the only one that's warm blooded. And you can see, I've asked the same question, both children would be correct. And you've got that assessment that you you've not put a lid on their learning. As Yasmin said earlier, you've given them the floor, you've given them that safe base to stand on. There's no lid on their learning. And I've done this sort of thing with children from as young as three. And I've asked similar questions to postgraduate and chemists. And I'll tell you why I did not understand the replies that the postgraduate chemists gave me. I just have to trust they were correct. Because they were operating at their level, which was well beyond mine.

Skip to 3 minutes and 20 secondsAnd so what we are looking for is questions that don't put a lid on learning, good, open ended questions. And there's a website link there to Explorify, which is an amazing site with loads of examples of Odd One Outs and other sorts of questions. It is aimed at primary school children. I've chatted to Yeasmin about this. And she thinks that a lot of this would be perfectly good for secondary children. So check it out, really, really well worth it. And then, John, and he's been talking about a similar aspect of learning. The different-- the way we treat our less competent and more competent learners. And he's sort of changing his mind about what is appropriate to give students.

Skip to 4 minutes and 8 secondsSo as he says there, if your students are engaged, they can understand an awful lot. Even if they aren't your most competent. So thank you very much for that example, John. And I think you're going to end with a comment from Beverley, now, yeah, Yeasmin?

Skip to 4 minutes and 25 secondsYEASMIN MORTUZA: Yes, so the snippet of Beverly's comment, that you see there, relates to a very common worry that us teachers, we often have. And that is how do we deal with coverage. Coverage is always time consuming, especially for a science GCSE, for example. If we are expected to do student led learning, which can be quite time consuming. So how do we, sort of, balance that conflicting priority. A lot of it comes down to understanding what happens when we allow student led learning or student taking greater ownership. And that is, they actually end up as better learners. They become faster and better at learning. And so we get back some of the capacity for dealing with the coverage.

Skip to 5 minutes and 16 secondsBecause the student, themselves, are going to help themselves go through the coverage faster. Because they are becoming better learners. Obviously, the implication is that we start this process of student centric learning early on and don't introduce it, you know, half a term before GCSE year 11 exams. So they have become competent learners by the time they get there. And so really just justifying that if the students are becoming powerful learners, that actually it's better for them, in the long run. Secondly, to not to treat coverage as something that has to flow through the teacher. We don't need to spoon feed them information. We can give them the information to process in a way that access higher order thinking.

Skip to 6 minutes and 5 secondsWhich is not the same as coverage. But it does cover the content, but in a way where the students are processing the information through the many techniques that are explained throughout the course. And also, just to justify to ourselves that we're going for quality over quantity. Because it allows us, and it allows them, puts everyone in a stronger position to cover the content more rapidly. It also means making some decisions about the way we cover things and not to treat everything is equal. Some topics need more in-depth and they can be pivotal to unlocking other topics.

Skip to 6 minutes and 44 secondsAnd so maybe we spend more time on those and less time on the isolated topics, where it may be that they just need to know a few facts and figures. So we don't need to spend the same amount of time on every aspect of the curriculum. And really being brave enough to justify this process to ourselves. And allowing some sacrifice of content, not entirely missing it off. But meaning, we don't need to spoon feed it to them in order to let that process take place. So our really important question there from Beverly. And thank you very much for that, because I think that that's something that concerns most of us, most of the time.

Skip to 7 minutes and 23 secondsSo that brings us to the end of this video diary. So this is the second out of three. So we've got one more coming up. Keep your comments coming in, please. Give us your permissions as well. It means that we can get to mention your lovely comments, as I look out for those. And look forward to reading your comments online.

Mentors' video diary and your advice to colleagues

Jane and Yeasmin will record their second video diary with a selection of highlights from course discussions and we’ll upload it to this step.

Next week we will consider in more detail how we can plan for learning over the medium term. Part of this will involve thinking about how you work individually and with colleagues. With that in mind, we’d like you to finish this week by noting what you would take back to your department and school.


Supporting your colleagues

Imagine that a colleague in your department or school has asked you to provide advice about how to plan to be responsive in lessons. What would be your key idea?

Post in the comments below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre