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Mentors’ video diary and your advice to colleagues

How would you support your colleagues? Also includes mentor video diary sharing highlights from this week's work.
JANE WINTER: Hello, everyone. It’s Jane and Yeasmin here with our latest video diary for the Planning for Learning course. We’ve been enjoying reading your comments and we’ve picked out a few to discuss now. And Yeasmin’s going to kick off.
YEASMIN MORTUZA: Thank you very much, Jane. Our first comment comes from Clarissa, and Clarissa makes a really, really good point about there being potentially a discrepancy between student and the confidence they display through things like 5-3-1 or three piles, so the various confidence tests that we have for students. So there may be a discrepancy between the level of confidence that they tell us and their actual knowledge. And this is actually a really important question. Thank you, Clarissa. So it raises the question, you know, what do we do about there being a potential discrepancy? And you can look at Step 1.9 for examples of the confidence test that Clarissa is referring to.
OK, so firstly, what we want is really important in a good formative assessment environment, that we nurture confidence and accuracy. But those to may not arrive at the same time, and so we always start with confidence because we need that confidence to be in place in order to develop the accuracy. So the confidence should be actively nurtured, and in this case maintained, because if students are confident enough to perhaps be overconfident in what they know, it’s good that they’ve got that confidence. So we can then look at things like the accuracy. But we need to retain the nurturing, and retaining the confidence is absolutely key.
And we do that by ensuring that the learning motivation comes from a positive growth mindset. And so that they’re 100% happy to address any gaps in their accuracy. So if they overestimated what they know, that we’re able to redirect them, think again, have a look again, you know, let’s see how accurate that is, and so that they’re able to fix that without taking a dent to their level of confidence. And it comes down to things like being constructively critical and celebrating transparency growth and courage and things like that rather than celebrating getting the answer right the first time around. And that’s a theme that will pop up again I think over the course of this video diary.
So I’m going to hand over to Jane for a related comment from Siobhan. Over to you, Jane.
JANE WINTER: Yes, thank you very much for this comment, Siobhan. She is worried that students need to be very thick-skinned if we’re going to use examples of mistakes they’ve made to carry learning forward. Now first of all, Siobhan, I want to say, yeah, we must always take account of students’ feelings and have that at our heart when we’re teaching. However, it isn’t always going to be easy for them, is it? Learning, it can be painful and difficult. And I think our students need to know that it’s not about being humiliated or embarrassed or feeling ashamed of mistakes you’ve made, but it can be difficult.
If you’re just banging your head against the wall I’m never going to learn this, and challenging ideas you’ve already gotten and changing the way you think about things isn’t easy, is it? So let your students know that. However, when it comes to using their mistakes, it can be done if you’ve created the right environment where students know that it’s a safe place to make mistakes, and their motivation for doing what they do isn’t to get it right the first time, but to grow and to learn, and that you’re all in it together. And it’s about you modelling what it’s like to make mistakes and be wrong because they need to know everybody makes mistakes. That’s how we learn.
You know in my class I go, wow, I never knew that, I made a mistake, and now I’ve found something out. Let the children see– obviously, I worked with younger children so slightly different for me. But that’s what you’ve got to do whatever age group you teach. Even if you’re teaching adults, let them see you make mistakes, too. You can anonymize the work and that can make it less painful. Beware they will recognise each other’s handwriting, they might recognise each other’s turns of phrase. You can also just have a word with each child first– do you mind me using that?
You know, I think it’s really great, you’ve done this, this, and this, but there’s a couple of teaching points I’d like to make. And some children will actually welcome you sharing their work. So yeah, I think it’s taking those several things into account. But yeah, I’m really glad to Siobhan. You know, we must have our students’ feelings at heart. However, in the right environment it doesn’t cause pain, it’s a cause for celebration. So thank you very much for that point. Back to you, Yeasmin.
YEASMIN MORTUZA: On a related point from Liz, Liz noticed that when she gave her students the 5-3-1 approach, she noticed something interesting. So just quick word– so the 5-3-1 approach is one of these confidence tests. So do go and look that up if you need the background information. And what she noticed was that her students initially wanted to tell her that they were very confident in all areas of their learning. So I imagine they were showing five fingers, which shows maximum level of confidence. However, after a little bit of probing, she noticed actually they adjusted themselves to something more accurate. And what she found is interesting was that they did that themselves.
And I think this goes back to the heart of what it is that we’re nurturing and that actually sometimes our fears are bigger than the students’ fears, meaning we worried about how they may react to being exposed and things like that, but actually, students naturally, have a natural wish and desire to be authentic learners, because they’re at that stage in their lives where everything is new, everything is being absorbed. They’re learning how to learn. And so they are at that age where it’s all new for them and they don’t have a fixed idea about how things should be done.
And so as Liz said, in her class when her students realise, oh, it’s OK, I don’t need to pretend that I know it all, they were happy to adjust themselves. And so if we remember that, the students are helping us to help them, if you like, it should be relatively easier for us then to work with that and to nurture even further. So thank you, Liz, for giving us this story because I think it’s really important. It helps us to see that, actually, we are in it together, that the students will help us to help them.
And in some ways, they are perhaps more ahead of us with the confidence that we need to, you know, build our own confidence up to match theirs as well. So thank you very much, Liz, for that. So I’m going to move on to some of the teaching resources that have been shared up on Padlet, Step 3.12. So over to you, Jane, for our first Padlet entry.
JANE WINTER: Yeah, this is by somebody who’s not given us their name. They’re down as anonymous. A lovely, lovely example though of a rich question in environmental chemistry. So, to what extent is carbon dioxide a pollutant? So obviously, there’s lots of answers on both sides, and you can see that could lead to lots of discussion with children bringing up different elements. And that’s great. There is a step all about rich questions and this is a great example of that. However, she also uses it as a continuum. So asks students, if naught is carbon dioxide is not a pollutant at all and 100 is carbon dioxide is a total pollutant, where do they stand on that continuum?
And one of the things I like that she does is she allows her students to move as they develop their understanding. And that, being able to physically move along the continuum line as a result of their discussions I think is very valuable because it helps them to see how their learning has changed and how that understanding has changed during the course of the lesson. So I think that’s very valuable, too. Thank you so much for this, anonymous. So you’ve got a couple of examples now, Yeasmin.
YEASMIN MORTUZA: I do indeed. Thank you, Louise, for your beautiful concept map on cells. So Louise has incorporated a few errors into her concept map. And the idea here is the students look for errors and have a discussion tossed around that. By chance, we had another entry by an anonymous teacher also looking at cells. And both of these share some similar traits, and that is that the mistakes, the deliberate mistakes that have been incorporated have quite a nice range. So some of them are easy mistakes to spot, so things like all cells are the same size and shape, cells are flat. But you’ve also got ones that are much tougher to figure out.
So you’ve got– that’s quite nice because it means everybody can get something right. But you’ve got a range of discussion topics going on there. And also, the ones that are more difficult would lead to more extensive discussion as well. So I like that this can be used as a springboard for those types of discussions. And it also an assessment for learning tool for the teacher as well. So it’s a teaching tool and an assessment for learning tool. So well done to both of you. We’ve got another, we’ve got another concept map from another anonymous person. Over to you, Jane, discussing this one.
JANE WINTER: Yes, we like this one on space. It’s got some, it’s got some space and some room for people to add their own comments as well. And again, there are some errors in there for children to spot. So we really like this. One thing that Yeasmin and I were saying before we started recording, this be really nice cut out as cards.
Can you imagine those statements and you get a great big piece of paper for the children to start moving around– and I don’t want that statement, or that statement, I don’t want it next to the sun, I want it next to be Earth, for example– and room for them to write their own lines connecting different ideas and words, and to write their own comment. So thank you very much for this, another anonymous. Anonymous has been very busy on Padlet! Back to you, Yeasmin.
YEASMIN MORTUZA: So I just want to say quickly, going back to that, that there are plenty more examples where those came from. So do go and have a look at Step 3.12. We only shared some of the ones where consent were given, but actually there are an awful lot more examples for you to look at. OK, so the last comment for this video diary is from Hannah. And Hannah noticed a bit of a pattern in what teachers were talking about at the beginning of the course and then at the end of the course. And do have a look at Hannah’s full comment.
One of the things she noticed is that she was just talking about time, because we know that time and how much time is needed to make changes is something that’s come out as a theme, a continuous theme that’s come up, particularly at the start of the course. And it’s something that teachers worried about because, you know, obviously, it does take time to make changes. What Hannah noticed though is sometimes it’s just a slight shift in approach that’s needed, or a tweak is sometimes sufficient. And that actually, coming on courses like these, the good news is often we identify things that are good and strong that we’re already doing and that we can just extend upon those.
And so it’s not always a case of throwing everything out and starting from scratch. but making tweaks to practise as well is always a good place to start. So thank you, Hannah, for that. That brings us to the end. So over to you, Jane, to wrap up.
JANE WINTER: Yes, as I said, thank you very much for participating in the course. We enjoy reading your comments. Keep them coming. If you’ve got any questions, if you could post them in Step 5.12 by the 10th of August, and they will get– some of them will be chosen and answered for you. And in the meantime, just keep on enjoying the course and we’ll see you online. Goodbye.
Jane and Yeasmin recorded their second video diary on 14 July with a selection of highlights from course discussions and Padlet activities.
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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Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

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