Action Plan

How might we shift student thinking from marks to skills by offering individualized feedback during conferencing in a timely manner and still engaging the other learners in the classroom?

This is the first iteration of my Cohort action plan; I suspect that the wording and possibly even the ideas themselves will change. In breaking this down, I’m essentially looking at several different ideas here:

  • Shifting the mindset of students from marks to skills
  • Offering feedback to students that is individualized
  • Conferencing with students in a reasonable time frame
  • Engaging the other 14+ students in the class who are not conferencing

Students are so mark focused, which is likely unhealthy, that they don’t take the time to read or value the feedback that they’ve been given. The irony is that if they took the time internalize the feedback and hone their individual skills, their marks would (significantly in some cases) improve

I’ve realized that we can’t give pages and pages of feedback to students. We need to focus on two or three key ideas and then move on. In the case of feedback, less is more. If a student struggles with structuring their sentences, then there’s no need to address (not yet at least) their analyses which are likely lacking. Start small, individualize the feedback, and build from there.

Conferencing is meaningful and even valued by students. With that said, it takes a long time. Realistically, I can conference with about 5-6 students in a 65-minute class under my current model. Of course, I want students to be able to converse about their assignments as quickly after completion as possible. You can see then, that timing is a big question mark that needs to be solved.

Moreover, when I’m conferencing with one student, what are the other students doing? I often give them a task to complete, but how do I ensure they are on task? How do I manage the class and keep students on track? Currently, I’ll conference with one student for several minutes, then check in with the rest of the class for several minutes, and repeat the process. This process might be acceptable every once in a while, but should not be relied upon for every student-teacher conversation.

Tweet to @bjeblack if you have any ideas that might help me with my action plan!