The 15 minute forum tonight was led by Assistant Head Pete Kelly (@petek1974), looking at how he uses the ‘Learning Journey’ poster in his lessons. The poster was introduced to DHS last year, after something similar was seen being used at a nearby school. There is now one up in all classrooms at DHS. It looks like this:
Pete started the forum by admitting to being quite cynical about the poster when he first saw it – in fact he recalled thinking ‘I could see it being useful for covering up a big space….. but not much else’. Then during one lesson, he was thinking about how he needed to support his students more with getting an A*. It was at this point that he glanced at the poster (that had been on his wall for over a month) and realised that the answer was there.
Since then, he now uses the poster most lessons. He went on to summarise how.
The ‘Independent Learning’ list on the poster acts as a useful prompt for students – especially when they are being set an extended task, that needs to be completed at home. For example, they can be reminded of the need to research information selectively, summarise the information and then use this to plan the next steps in their learning. The 5Bs are also a great way of encouraging resilience in students when they get stuck – use their brain, book, board and buddy (person sat next to them) to help them get ‘unstuck’, before turning to the boss – the teacher.
The most useful aspect though was the ‘thinking’ and ‘question stems’ columns. This has proved really useful when it comes to developing questioning to support student responses to exam questions. For example, when looking at marketing strategies for businesses (Pete teaches Business Studies), questions can be scaffolded using the question stems:
- Remembering – What are the 4Ps of marketing?
- Understanding – How do businesses use them?
- Applying – Can you think of examples to demonstrate this?
- Analysing – Has this strategy worked? How do you know?
- Evaluating – How could the strategy used in the business in your example be improved?
- Creating – Can you come up with a brand new marketing strategy for that product?
This has made him think about what he needs to do to increase the complexity of the questions – and so get a better response from the students. As a result, student written responses are now far more detailed. When questioning students individually, Pete now uses these question stems to make sure that he is asking questions pitched at the right level for individual students. He also encourages the students to come up with their own questions, using the stems. When students are peer assessing, they also use the stems to write formative comments for their peers – again, based on the target grade that they are aiming for.
The more students use it, the more useful they find it in terms of thinking about what they need to do to develop their own learning. It can also support the use of the progress tracker stickers (on the front of all exercise books):
Students can use this to mark on their MEG (Minimum Expected Grade) and their current working grade. They can then use feedback from the teacher, combined with the criteria on the Learning Journey poster, to make a note of their own personal improvement strategies – which can then be monitored during marking.
So to summarise:
- The prompts on the poster are general enough to apply to most subjects.
- It’s a useful resource to support and develop teacher questioning.
- It supports students with thinking about the next steps in their own learning.
- It can act as a useful reminder to reduce student reliance on the teacher.
- Once trained, the students can use it for peer assessment and peer learning.
- To be effective, it needs to be used regularly.
Download a copy here