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.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Critiquing culture takes off!

I sat down recently to mark some Year 8 practical write ups, which had been critiqued by students in pairs, during a teacher led session. So I expected to see some peer feedback and a second draft.  At first it didn't register that this student had done something different. I did notice that she had done three drafts but the significance didn't register. I was just impressed, by the work ethic and by how the drafting culture had quickly been accepted as the norm by the majority of this class. I did notice that one draft had been highlighted with different colours and thought "Great they have been thorough". But something didn't sit right. I looked again at the student work and saw draft one, followed by a critique followed by draft two which had also been critiqued and finally draft three. It then dawned. They have done an extra critique, but when did they do this? I then realised that the second draft had been critiqued independently of me! These students had not previously critiqued work, but have instantly seen the value and invested in it. The culture of critique and draft had taken off! I love the quote from this student after draft one. 
I am well aware that this is only two students who have completely taken to this, but I now have exemplar critiquing and drafted work to inspire and cajole others. Let the archiving commence. I must confess that I was slightly taken a back by the quality of the critiquing by the students on the second draft. It was so much better than what they had done when I had led the session. It was kind, helpful and specific, and contain real learning conversations and lots of subject content references.  I am becoming increasingly convinced that critiques are the best opportunity for teaching that we have, with ready made context and personal investment. What bothered me was how much better they were without me! In reality they had used the same success criteria we had established and had applied the feedback norms that were shared. But, the important thing is that they have made these there own, they can do it at anytime and with any topic or task and with great skill.  I have annotated the slides below showing the student work, but it really isn't necessary when you look at the work and comments. Drafting example
View more presentations from DKMead.

Obviously intrigued by the motivation to go to such lengths, I asked the two students involved. They had critiqued each others work and both had made huge improvements. I will photograph the other piece of work and add it to this blog post. The thing that strikes me about this AudioBoo is how matter of fact, they are about critiquing, drafting and hard work! They see it as part of learning, they see it as worthwhile, they see it as normal. Thank you Josie and Emily.

Year 8 talking about Critique (mp3)