My interest in the idea of sharing pedagogical purposes comes directly with the contact I have had with the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning at Monash University in Australia. Now each of these teachers were very active in establishing learning agendas with their classes. The impact they were having was inspiring. Each classroom tool can have a purpose beyond delivering content, and this needs to be shared.
I suppose the purpose of this website is collate, crystalise and open dialogues about how to increase this within classrooms. As the quote from Carl Bereiter illustrates this classroom methodology can empower our students.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

An example of a critique.

My students in year 7 are currently working on a project where they have to analyse a basket of food items through the eyes of different characters for example a vegan, an althlete or a mum on a budget. They researched food items in a pre selected "basket" and found the nutrients, food miles and chemicals used in their production or manufacture, as well as creating character profiles for each of the "analysts".
After this research they were requested to make some art work based on this research and we then critiqued it around these questions. This was their first exposure to this technique and the feedback norms, which are find are encouraging a rigorous dialogue in the classroom.

1.Hard on content, soft on people.
2.Step up, step back.
3.Feedback must be kind, helpful and specific.

Next we began writing scripts for these characters, and these audio clips are from their second attempt at critqiuing each others work.
I requested them to make brief presentations with around 25 minutes to prepare. To guide them I modelled the kind of thinking required on an exerpt of work and set guiding questions. My students are increasingly aware of SOLO taxonomy and are beginning to refer to it, again I modelled this before they began.

Essential questions were set to encourage high quality feedback. Which are given below.

It is most pleasing to hear the students use them and make specific reference to them in their presentations, which helps them focus on the content and provide specific feedback. I feel the structure of a presentation also encourages all students to contribute too and also assist in getting the balance between student and teacher feedback. One of the great strengths of critqiues is that they help build a community of learners, where every student is aware of what the others are learning and are able to provide help to one another. This is true student voice in action,and it's all about learning.

A teacher running a session must be confident in using wait time before and after students have spoken, resisting the temptation to jump in with an answer. I personally find note making helps keep my mouth shut and helps me go beyond the feedback that student have themselves given.

Here is an example of the students written feedback followed by an audio boo of them discussing the work. I conclude the presentation asking if the feedback was useful, and giving feedback on the feedback itself. Students need training in doing this, although for only their second attempt this is really rather good feedback.

The next audio boo is from a student who has just received some peer feedback which was very positive. She feels as though the feedback was not helpful enough, which allows me to reinforce the norms and prompt for some of the things that I thought she could do. This students is extremely talented, I think it was great for her peers to see her request guidance, it sends a clear message that success is not something that you have its something that you work towards. http://audioboo.fm/boos/350762-was-that-useful-feedback

The final AudioBoo is the students who have just given this feedback responding to the question "what have you learned by giving this feedback?". It is essential that critqiues are seen as being beneficial to everyone. This is often missed in peer feedback, the people who benefit most are the ones who give the feedback. Again listen for teacher wait time, which has students adding to what they have previously said and others actually joining in. It is a most effective technique.