Saturday, August 27, 2016

Student Voice and Feedback Improves Learning

"...this meant that they needed to be exposed to the purpose for their learning goals and strategies and have clear success criteria explained prior to the task to allow them to monitor their progress and reflect on their achievement. Crucial to this is the importance of quality feedback to provide direction and support to students throughout their learning journey." (Vinetta Mitrevski - Monmia Primary School - Victoria)

Our teachers and students have been on the journey of being more 'explicit, intentional and visible' with regard to learning intentions and success criteria. Traditionally, the focus of feedback to students about their learning has been based on assessment outcomes. This has translated then to the Semester Report Cards or parent-teacher meetings; this is but one of the pieces of the story of the learning journey. It would be like reading the end of a good story without knowing the details of the story-line; quite limiting.
Teachers at St Joseph's are on the journey of gradually making the shift to gaining and giving feedback from and to students within the lessons, along the pathway of learning. We are in early days of this and believe that it is an imperative part of engagement and improvement in learning.

As outlined by Hattie, Masters & Birch (2016) the guiding principles around feedback are:

All stakeholders understand that the purpose of feedback is to:

  • close the gap in learning; and
  • improve student progress and achievement
Students understand that;
  • everybody can give and receive feedback
  • feedback can be used to do things even better - for improvement
  • assessment/test scores are feedback to the students and teacher; and
  • students should seek feedback
  • incorporate and strategically plan for feedback in every session
  • know about and apply the different levels of feedback; and
  • build a culture of feedback into every classroom
  • understand that feedback can be given by anyone
I would add here that parents would understand their role in supporting their child in taking that feedback and applying it to improve their learning. That is what the student led learning conferences are about! At the conferences, parents will have the opportunity to be a part of the conversation of feedback and to assist their child by knowing how to support them for the remainder of this year. 

At the upcoming conferences I would encourage parents to 
  • listen
  • affirm and celebrate
  • ask "how can I support you (my child) to achieve your learning goal/s (where to from here?)
What do parents hope to gain from listening to their child articulate their learning?

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