For this term I have been focusing on a few areas to improve my teaching, including feed-forward, catering to different learning styles and balancing individual and group work.
An area that I have been focusing on improving with my teaching is on giving feedforward to my students while they are doing this. I have done this in both my Senior Classes. For Level 1 Health, the students were completing a goal-setting unit. I created the task as a Google Doc and I accessed them frequently to give feed-forward. I commented on their work asking questions and suggesting things to improve. The student would then view these comments and clicked ‘resolved’ when they fixed their work. This was helpful for me to be able to checkpoint students and keep them accountable for their work but also, it helps to raise student achievement. Likewise, for my Level 1 PE, I have been putting comments on their summarise for performance improvement. I have found that using Google docs allows me to keep students more accountable for their work as I can see what edits they have made and when they last modified their docs. The feed-forward is also valuable so students understand how to improve their quality of work.
Another thing that I have been modifying in my teaching is how I use devices and if I make students complete work on them. I know that using ipads can be difficult if changing between windows or applications. With this in mind, I have created a compromise with my classes. I create a google doc for each individual student but, I give them an option of how they want to complete their work; they can either type straight into the doc or they can write their answers using felt-tip pens and paper. They then have to take a photo and insert it into the answer space. I have found this to be quite successful. A lot of students choose to type straight onto the doc however, a large number choose to use pens and paper. I have found that this choice has improved the work completion of the students because of the choice and ease of using pen and paper.
I have also been considering the balance between group and individual work within my classes and, how my students learn best. With this in mind, I usually use some youtube clips for visual or auditory learners and a group-task and an individual task. I am becoming increasingly considerate of who completes the work in group-task and who relaxes and rides on the diligence of others. To fix this I make sure that groups are only ever 3-4 or sometimes pairs to make sure that students are engaging with the material. I also move around and monitor work by asking “what are you contributing to the group” to make sure students are helping. I have found this to have increased the productivity of all group members. Alongside some groupwork I have also focused on doing individual work for students so they don’t have to be interacting all the time. For example, in today’s lesson I started with a expert group task in which students had to find out about a different method of contraception. They then had to present it to the class. The students then completed an individual task (or as a small group if they did it quietly). The reason for this is so that the students were able to process the information for themselves.
Something that I have done with my classes is to get them to ‘unpack the standard.’ For this I give students the Achievement Standards and they have to find the key words and differences between each levels. I find that this is more meaningful for the students to understand what they need to do to achieve. We then discuss it and clarify any confusion. I could expand on this by giving students levels of the work and getting them to mark or guess what grade they think it deserves, using the information from the AS. In small tasks or activities I am trying to work on having different levels within the tasks so students can work on what they are working at.
Something that I would like to try more of is differentiated seating plans. This might mean seating the students in ares of the room that they are at the same stage at. For example, students that have completed an introduction, another group that haven’t started or a group that is up to the conclusions. As a teacher this will allow me to focus my attention on the needs of those small groups.