This is the first of what I hope are regular posts over the year illustrating interesting practice around the school in terms of feedback. This week two examples from opposite ends of the school: one from a Y11 English class courtesy of CGT and DPG has shared how he uses feedback in Prep-Prep music lessons.

I had the pleasure of being in one of a sequence of lessons that CGT  was running with his Y11 class on Jekyll and Hyde. The class were discussing Chapter 6 and had been broken into groups to annotate different sections. This was done using the comment feature on Google Docs as a homelearning task. CGT had then gone on to respond to (and moderate) their comments and left them with various questions or ‘steers’ to consider. Some students had gone on to respond to his comment and then in the lesson it was the students role to lead the discussion with the rest of the class with regards to that section.

An extract of some of the annotation and commentary from a Y11 English class. Notice the teacher interjecting with prompts and questions.

An extract of some of the annotation and commentary from a Y11 English class. Notice the teacher interjecting with prompts and questions.

Not only was the quality of their discussion very high, but the technique used allowed everyone to see the history of their ideas. This was especially important as the volume of ideas they ended up discussing was so detailed that it was a strain for the students in other groups to document everything the lead group wanted to say. CGT was also able to ‘resolve’ any comments that weren’t central to the important points and add in extra information and ideas as part of the class discussion. It was clear to me that the teacher’s feedback had been crucial in gently guiding the students to focus on particular aspects of the text or challenging them to be more sophisticated in the points they were making.

Secondly, from Music comes an example of the idea of an exit ticket, something that many staff mentioned in the Tuesday session. Here’s how DPG describes the way he uses it in Pre-Prep music:

One thing I do in Pre-Prep Music is my exit password.  For example, when we have learned some rhythms I put them up on the board and the children cannot pass unless they correctly play one that I ask them to.  If they get it right then they can pass, if they get it wrong they go to the back of the line to try again.  The second time around the children normally get it right because they watch what the other children do correctly or incorrectly and then understand themselves.  They would probably get it correct if they paid more attention in the first place to be honest but the effect of having to do it again does have some impact.  We do the same with melodies where I put a glockenspiel by the door and ask them to play a tune we have learned.  It is also a good way of differentiating between children as I have some easier and harder rhythms and tunes and I can ask children to play something that is at their level. 

This type of feedback is not written down whatsoever but children who do get things wrong have a chance to immediately listen to how other children attempt the task and that peer feedback informs their understanding, practice and hopefully their learning.”

I thought this was a really interesting example as it involves peer-peer interactions, modelling, differentiation but also makes the learning very visible for both teacher and student.

If you have any great examples of feedback let me know. In the meantime here’s a link to the summary of effective feedback we looked at in the INSET session.