Thursday, July 6, 2017

Student Voice - End of Term 2

As it is the end of term 2, it is a good time to get some student voice so there is time to act on any problems before the start of term 3.
I have been reading  "Making Thinking Visible : How to Promote Engagement, Understanding and Independence for All Learners" - Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison. Link here to Kindle edition

There is a lot of discussion in the book about letting the students ask the questions rather than answering them.

"when students ask authentic questions, we know they are focussed on the learning and not just the completion of assignments"


"asking authentic questions - that is, questions to which the teacher does not already know the answer or to which there are not predetermined answers - is extremely powerful in creating a classroom culture that feels intellectually engaging"

I have not finished reading this book yet but this part about getting the students to be in charge of the questions is a really interesting one and something that I want to look into further next term as part of expanding the students level of thinking.

As a starting point for this, I thought it would be fun to flip the way I got feedback from the students this term. I have decided to get them to ask the questions.  Seeing as we have not done it this way before, I have not expected a huge amount from them and only want 3 questions based on the following things :-
  • Think of one question you can ask about the projects that you have been doing so far this year.
  • Think of one question you can ask about how the information is given to you about what you have to do when you come in the classroom.
  • Think of one question you can ask about the atmosphere in the classroom.
These were the instructions at the top of the form....

Hello.... On this form I want you to read the focus and then think of one question that you want to ask about each of the three sections. I will not be giving you boxes to tick for this as I want you to really think of a question. Please think hard and try not to leave blank or put "i don't know".... thank you.

Here are some of the things they came up with ...


  • Think of one question you can ask about the projects that you have been doing so far this year.
Will these techniques I've learnt help me in Year 12 VIS?
Will these shelter projects be useful for future reference?

These answers interest me a lot as they show that the students are thinking about the future and if what I getting them to do is going to be of any use. I need to to try and build into the planning overall, some kind of 3 year course flow so they can see where the skills take them from Level 1 through to Level 3 and then onto courses and jobs to do with design. I know I like to know the point of what it is that I am expected to do so it is the same for the students.

Is art deco reaching the high standard of where i want it to be
Have I done enough
Am I still on track?
I don't necessarily have to know how my speaker works right? like, the wires and stuff.

These questions make it clear that they are worrying about what they are dong and if it is enough or correct. I need to make more reference of the standard breakdowns (example here)


  • Think of one question you can ask about how the information is given to you about what you have to do when you come in the classroom.
Is art deco still achieving at the high point?
Why online?
Sometimes I need extra help when i don't fully understand the task we are given
more fun drawing stuff?
Is there other ways to give us information without using google plus?
can we see visual instructions?

It is interesting that they want their instructions in different and visual ways. This appeals to me and will definitely look into doing this more.  I am wondering if the question about "why online?" has come from a student who has come from outside of our cluster of schools as we have been working this way for quite a number of years now and they are used to getting their instructions and information that way.


  • Think of one question you can ask about the atmosphere in the classroom.
Is the atmosphere still going or going to stop
Why are the year 12's so loud?
The Atmosphere is fine and fun but productive working space
what do you mean by atmosphere?
Do you like the atmosphere? If not, what can we do to improve it.
why are there more boys than girls?

The boy / girl ratio in the class is often something I wonder about.  My class always seems to have more boys in it than girls.
I am happy that they think they can still work while having fun.
I do worry about the Year 11 students in with the Year 12 and how it is affecting their work rate, and it is interesting that has come up with the "why are the year 12's so loud?" question. 


This has been an interesting way to get feedback as I have more of an insight into how the students are thinking. It was our first time trying this, so I am aware that some of the feedback is not questions or is not very in depth, but I think it is an interesting start and I will definitely be building more of this student questioning into the lessons.
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