Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £29.99 £19.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Mentors’ video diary and your choice of comments

Mentor video diary
YEASMIN MORTUZA: So my name is Yeasmin Mortuza, and I’m here with my colleague Jane Winter. And this is our first of three video diaries for this new course on Planning for Learning. So we’re doing something a little bit different, this time. We’re going to have a look at developing success criteria with children, as opposed to giving students success criteria at the start of the lesson or during the teaching sequence. We found that many teachers find this a difficult concept, as they worry about a couple of things. Teachers often worry about there not being– not enough time to do this, and they also fear that giving students too much control at this stage might lead to woolly outcomes.
But we need to remember that we’re not letting students choose a random set of success criteria. But, rather, we’re working with them to generate the success criteria, which is actually part and parcel of the outcome that we’re all aiming for. So Jane is going to kick off by talking about the experience of one of the course participants, May. So over to you, Jane.
JANE WINTER: Yes, thank you very much for this. May actually isn’t a teacher. She’s a tutor, and I thought that was interesting because I think, as a tutor, she’s gotten a slightly different relationship with her learners. So she thinks this is probably something that she was kind of doing already, but not thinking about it in quite those terms. And I think the way she describes it here, it’s made me think that usually, when you’re teaching, that there’s a very unequal relationship, isn’t there? You know, you’ve got everything. You’ve got the knowledge. You make the decisions.
The children, they’re waiting for you to tell them what they’ve got to learn, how they’re going to learn it, when they’re going to learn it. And giving the success criteria, plonking it on the board at the front of the lesson, that’s all part of that pattern, isn’t it? But let’s just rein back from that a little bit. You know, and in our sister course, Behaviour for Learning, we often talk about imagine in the child’s parents sat on your shoulder. You know, imagine that you were there in a meeting, the parent was there, and the child was there. And the dynamic of the relationship would be different, wouldn’t it? And we’re talking about a more equal relationship.
So instead of thinking you’re the one with all the knowledge, actually, the child has just as much knowledge that you need as you’ve got that they need because they know what they think, why they think it, and you need to find that out from them. So it’s about you and the child together finding out what they already know and then working out how that differs from what they need to know. And so that is definitely a partnership. You’ve both got different parts of the jigsaw puzzle that you’re going to bring together.
So it’s not about giving learners information. It’s about working out with them what the learning is and what it needs to look like. The student has also got responsibility. It’s not– the responsibility is not all yours. It’s theirs as well. And you’re going to develop those success criteria over a period of time in a relationship of mutual trust. And I think, Yeasmin, you’re going to talk now about how this can be done?
YEASMIN MORTUZA: Yeah, absolutely. So Clarissa has given a really good example which helps us understand some of the context that Jane mentioned from the previous slide. And Clarissa, beg your pardon, has a process. The example she’s given is for when she wants her students to write a restaurant review. So please do pause the video and read her method. It’s just an example of a method, so this is not just one way. There are lots of ways to do it, but it’s a good way to illustrate the key points of creating success criteria with learners.
So what she’s done is she wants the students to unpick a restaurant review, and go through a series of stages where they are generating success criteria from the worked examples that they look at. And they use that to then increase their own mastery and then eventually generate one for themselves. So the key thing, here, is that the success criteria is– it’s another way of delivering on the learning. It’s another way, and it’s a way of ensuring that students have that ownership and investment. It’s a way of ensuring that students are– they’re delivering. They’re delivering the learning that you want them to do, but they’re doing in a way which is deeper because they’ve analysed some other examples to do so.
And it ensure that they, themselves, understand the success criteria through a worked example. So it’s not just something that’s been given to them as an information-only, but it’s something that they’ve had to apply and generate and then apply. But, by generating them, they’ve understood why they’re important. So it– the whole thing becomes part of the process of learning, so that’s really important. So it just shows that, you know, it’s a creative way to go about doing things. And it does take time, and you would use this process strategically where the unpicking would matter and maybe impact on multiple areas of learning.
So the key thing to recognise, here, is it’s the process of unpicking and generating the success criteria that helps students to really understand what they’re aiming for. OK? So thank you, Clarissa, for your example. Our next comment comes from Kate, and she picks up on a really important point on time. We know that teachers really worry about time to do or to generate success criteria because we all know time is precious. And that applies for all teachers. Time is precious, and it’s important in an assessment of learning.
And any good practises in teaching and learning is about making good use of time, and it’s about ensuring that the time we have is utilised in a way that generates the maximum outcome. So why would generating success criteria be part of that? Well, it goes back to what we were saying in the previous slide, and that is it’s ensuring that students are learning through this process of unpicking. So it’s not an add-on. It’s not something you put on top of everything else you’re doing, but it’s instead of. OK? So one way of looking at it is, if we have limited time, we want to make sure that we’re choosing techniques that carry multiple impact.
So we want them to have a good understanding of the learning outcomes that we want them to achieve. But we also want them to develop good learning techniques so that we’re building that up over time so that we’re actually getting the time back in multiple ways as well. OK? So I thank you very much, Kate, for your comment. I’m going to pass back over to Jane for a comment from Becky. Over to you, Jane.
JANE WINTER: Yes, thank you very much for your comment, Becky. Actually, we’ve got two comments from Becky because I asked her a little bit more information. And this is linked in to everything we’ve been saying about success criteria, and that Becky was talking about how she collaborates with her students, works in a– gives them chances to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their learning. And I asked her, well, you know, how can this happen? You know, don’t your students make the wrong choice? Or aren’t– are you doing a job properly if you’re just letting them make their own choices in this way? And she points that, no, it took time. She had to train them to do this.
She had to give them the confidence to do this. She had to let them know they were trusted to make the right decision. She’s, no, they don’t always get it right. Again, as Yeasmin said of the previous slide, feel free to stop this and read everything she’s put. But, you know, they sometimes don’t make the right decision. They might choose a task that’s too difficult, but then they’ll change. They’ll go to her and say, no, no, I do need help. I was wrong. So they’re confident to do that. They’re not ashamed to say they don’t understand something.
Sometimes, she says, more often, she has students that don’t really have the confidence to strike out on their own, and they tend to err on the side of wanting the teacher there for support. So it’s her job to help them develop that confidence to say, no, I can do this task on my own. Now, you can see that students can only be making these sorts of decisions when they’ve got a really good understanding of what that success criteria are that you worked with them to develop. So this is that classroom where you’re trusting your students, you’re listening to your students, they’re trusting you, they’re listening to you, and they’re making decisions and getting better at making those decisions.
Now, I will say, early on in this sort of process, an awful lot of learners, adult learners as well, they don’t like it. They want you to give them the information. You know, they feel that you’re not doing your job, and they feel a bit unsupported. So you do need time to build up that confidence for this sort of classroom work where we’re learning together. You know, we’re giving ourselves time to develop and become the best lives that we can be, both students and teachers. So thank you very much for that comment, Becky. And over to you to wrap up, now, Yeasmin.
YEASMIN MORTUZA: Indeed. So thank you, everyone, for your comments. Please do keep them coming. So Jane and I will have another video up in about a fortnight’s time, and that will be the second of three videos. Do post any questions you have for our educators up on Step 5.12. And if you have your comment posted up before the 10th of August, there’s a good chance that you’ll have your comment addressed. The Q&A video should be up by the end of August. So keep your comments coming, and see you online.

Jane and Yeasmin will be recording three video diaries during the course. Please keep an eye out for their requests to include your comments in the video.

Learning from others

To celebrate the contributions you have all made, we’d like you to look at the last two weeks’ learning. In the comments below, either:
a. Share a link to a comment made by another learner or mentor that has informed your thinking or practice.
b. Summarise a comment or discussion that has helped you reflect on how you teach.

Tip: To share a link to a comment, right click on the time/date of the comment and select Copy link address or Copy shortcut. You can then paste this into the comments below.

This article is from the free online

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now