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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds YEASMIN MORTUZA: Hello, colleagues. This is Yeasmin Mortuza and Jane Winter. This these are the last of three video diaries for the course on Planning for Learning, Formative Assessment in Science and Maths. So this is where Jane and I highlight some of your comments from across the course. So I’m going to hand over to Jane for our first comment from Clare. Over to you, Jane.

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 seconds JANE WINTER: Thank you very much for this comment, Claire, and thank you for your honesty. So I think a lot of teachers will empathise with what you’re saying. And Claire is pointing out that a lot of what we do, we do because it’s the thing that we do. It’s a habit or it’s the expectations of the school. Somebody went on a course once and found out that that’s what we should be doing, so now we’ve all been doing it for the last 10 years, and we’re going to carry on doing it.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 seconds And sometimes these things, in her case, she’s talking about the way so often in school, we write the success criteria on the board at the beginning of the lesson, whatever. You know, whether it’s helpful, whether it’s not, we do it. But we can do contextualise that and say, actually, there’s lots of things that we do in school. I can remember at one point in primary schools we were all doing activate and various activities right at the start of the day, because someone once said it was a good idea. And a few years ago we were all having must, should and could on our board with what children should be doing. And these just become a habit in themselves.

Skip to 1 minute and 34 seconds And we forget the underlying purpose of this thing that we’re doing. And quite often, as Claire points out, instead of helping learning, they actually become a barrier to the learning. So what Claire is saying, we need to really think, what are we doing, why are we doing it. Is it serving our primary purpose, which is to educate children and to help them become self-reliant learners? And if it isn’t, ditch it, whatever the school says, whatever senior management say. You need to start having those discussions and move forward, and say, no, it’s time for change. So thank you so much for that really important comment, Claire. And I think you’ve got something from Dawn now, Yeasmin.

Skip to 2 minutes and 14 seconds YEASMIN MORTUZA: I do indeed. And it’s on a similar theme. So Dawn makes comment which we put under the category of finding the time, which is a theme that comes up quite often through our courses and across assessment for learning in general. So how do you find the time to do these things that might be deemed as add-ons? So Dawn has illustrated a comparison which I think really helps to make the point. So she says to drive the learning towards your objective with the children along as inert observers, that one thing we might be doing. Or we might be responding to what the students know and want to know.

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 seconds So when we see that second scenario is much more akin to assessment for learning formative assessment, where we look at what do they know and what do we want them to know and bridge the gap, versus just dragging them along as observers why they run through our schedule. So the important thing to realise is that the learning consumer, if you like, is the child themselves. So it’s not us, the planning teacher. It’s not an observing teacher or even a state inspector. The child is the consumer for the learning that we’re trying to achieve. And so it must revolve around what they show us they know or don’t know.

Skip to 3 minutes and 42 seconds And so when it comes to time, we’ve just got to make sure we’re putting the time where it matters, and that we don’t get distracted by running through what we deem to be core learning. So it’s much better to ensure that the things we cover have been dealt with in a way that’s meaningful to the child. And so that is what finding the time should be about. It should be, we should be finding the time to ensure that learning is taking place and not just for coverage. And I think this is a bit of a theme across all of these comments coming through. So I’ll hand over to Jane you for the next comment from Hannah. Over to you, Jane.

Skip to 4 minutes and 22 seconds JANE WINTER: Yes, thank you very much for this, Hannah. Again, a very honest comment, which I think will chime with a lot of course participants. And Hannah says, how important it is to listen to what children are saying. That there’s lots of obstacles to us doing this. And so often, we’re listening to just whether they’re right or wrong, or whether they are saying what we want them to say or what we expect them to say. And often, we feel pressurised, because we worried that the lesson’s going to lose pace, we’re going to lose the attention of the other children. And inwardly, we’re thinking, just hurry up, just hurry up, you know, spit it out, child.

Skip to 4 minutes and 58 seconds I’ve been in that situation myself. And I’m sure so many others have. And when we’re like that, we’re too preoccupied to really listen to what the children are saying. But when we listen respectfully and attentively to what children say, they will explain their ideas more freely. And actually, the other children in the class, instead of getting bored, they see the respectful way that you’re listening to their peers and the less confident children that they’re more likely to be able to express their views as well. As well as the students talking more clearly, that gives us a big clue into what they’re thinking, where their thinking is, and what the next steps need to be.

Skip to 5 minutes and 39 seconds And additionally, just through the act of talking through their understanding to somebody who’s truly listening, learners start to understand what they know a lot better as well. And that sounds a bit crazy. Of course they know what they think. But they don’t. And I love that phrase, how do I know what I think until I hear myself say it. And you’ll know that if you’ve got some ideas, but when you put them into words, it crystallises your own thinking, doesn’t it? So thank you so much for your honest and important comment there, Hannah. And now we’re going to return to a comment from our first video diary from Kate. In the video diary, we were talking about success criteria.

Skip to 6 minutes and 24 seconds And Kate was saying that rather than repeating back what children had said, she’d probe further. And the importance, how this gave her more time by not just repeating back what children said, by reacting to what they said more thoughtfully, she wasn’t having to, it wasn’t something extra she was doing. It was something she was doing instead of the less valuable thing. So again, back to the first comment we talked about today, where a lot of what we do, we just do it because we do it. You stop doing those things that aren’t purposeful. And this is what Kate is saying. When we’re stopping doing the things that aren’t purposeful and instead doing things that are purposeful and have meaning.

Skip to 7 minutes and 12 seconds And there’s two strands to this. The learning that the children do is going to be deeper and more meaningful. And secondly, the children will be learning to be better learners. So this is going to carry forward into other lessons as well. So it should be a win-win situation. Thank you very much for that comment, Kate. And back to you, Yeasmin, for our last comment.

Skip to 7 minutes and 33 seconds YEASMIN MORTUZA: Thanks, Jane. This comment is from Clarissa. And Clarissa’s comment is about again, returning to his theme of, it’s not about task completion. It is about delivering on the learning intention. And she points out that it’s not a problem if the students have not concluded the task. So sometimes we can get into a panic, because we think, oh, my goodness. They haven’t reached the end of the task. And if we try and artificially push things through, we do so, sometimes we can do so at the cost of the actual learning. So we get into that because we got a lesson plan to get through or we’ve got learning goals across a number of lessons.

Skip to 8 minutes and 17 seconds And we accidentally push the task completion. But what we’re sacrificing is far more precious. And actually, it comes back to this business of what do we spend the time on, and ensuring that the time is spent on the things that are meaningful. And it takes courage to do that. And one way to remind ourselves to have to have that courage, is to remember what is the purpose. So lesson plans and the tasks we have in the lesson plan, they are a means to an end. They’re not the end in itself. And we should remember that when it comes to differentiated learning, students will start and end at different points.

Skip to 9 minutes and 0 seconds What we don’t, differentiation is not about ensuring that students somehow magically end at the same point. That’s not what differentiation and assessment for learning is about. It’s about ensuring that the pace of their learning and the pace of their activities is such that they are actually learning something beneficial. So that is, that should be our focus. And remembering that purpose hopefully is why I know that it gives me courage to sort of challenge the status quo, by sort of remembering the purpose. So, Clarissa, thank you very much for your comment, and also for your fantastic comments all throughout the course as well. So I think that’s the last comment we’re going to discuss.

Skip to 9 minutes and 48 seconds So over to you, Jane, for wrapping up.

Skip to 9 minutes and 51 seconds JANE WINTER: Yes, thank you very much for your participation throughout the course, everyone. We’ve really enjoyed reading your comments. Just to remind you, that there is a place where you can post any questions for our educators to answer. That’s in step 5.12. And you need to do that by the 10th of August. Well worth doing, so you get your question answered. And don’t forget, we currently have our sister course, Differentiation for Learning running. So that’s well worth a look too. If you haven’t got time to do it now, it’ll be running again in the autumn. Or perhaps do it twice. Why not? And thank you very much and goodbye.

Reflecting on your learning with Jane & Yeasmin

Jane and Yeasmin recorded their final video diary on 22 July. This step is open access, so you can access it without logging in. Just bookmark your URL to your favourites. A transcript is being processed.

Reflect on your learning this week

Now is the time to complete your reflection grid if you have not already done so. It’s useful to keep a note of your thoughts, ideas shared by other participants and new practices you’ve developed as a record of your professional development on this course.

What ideas from your reflection grid (or the video diary when available) best represent a change in your teaching practice?

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This video is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre