AFL Toolkit

Learning Objectives

Every good lesson should start with clear objectives and one of the favoured approaches for this is WALT, WILF, & TIB which stands for:

  1. WALT – We Are Learning To - describing the knowledge and/or skills to be learnt that day.
  2. WILF – What I’m Looking For - telling the learner what I want them to focus on or complete during the lesson.
  3. TIB – This Is Because  - explaining to the learner why this is important.

Exemplar Material

Here’s One I Made Earlier

Taken from Blue Peter this is the opportunity for teachers to demonstrate what leaners should be working towards as they can find it helpful to see something before they begin.  These examples don’t always need to be complete and/or perfect as they can provide opportunities for discussing how examples can be improved and thus creating student-led objectives for the task.

Student Experts

Having a student who has completed a task well to act as an expert for that task.

Sharing Good Work

Sharing good work produced by the class is an excellent way to praise learners for their achievements and to show others what good work looks like.  The class should be given the opportunity to evaluate the good work and appreciate what makes it so.  If students know their work is to be published they are often more motivated to do better.

Checking Understanding

Traffic Light

One excellent tool for showing students where they are in terms of performance or progress is a traffic light system.  In the simplest form the three colours (green, amber, red) are used to say: Good or OK; Watch this or could be improved; and Needs attention or requires improvement.

I have used it extensively in BTEC where a students progress was recorded using traffic lights against the grading criteria.  The grading criteria were then linked to the tasks and thus is was clear to students what they needed to do in order to progress.

I have also used it for current grades against targets with additional colours:  Red – Underachieving; Orange – One grade below; Yellow – On target; and Green – Above target.  I’m not sure whether this exactly sits with the sentiment of AFL in relation to student motivation but such is the pressure of league tables and learner achievement.

Thumbs Up

When you have asked a question or explained a task the thumbs up/down (or sideways) sign can be used by learners to show how confident they feel with the question or task.  This is similar to the Ofsted Left Right Trick when during an observation if you ask a question every student must raise an arm – those with the left arms up do not know the answer but those with their right hands raised do.

Peer Assessment

Leaners enjoy and benefit from assessing each others work.  Providing a framework for this process can often help and this can be achieved in a number of ways:

  1. For a detailed assessment, discuss with learners what they/you would be looking for in a solution and get them to summarise this in a template
  2. For a quick peer assessment, ask students to give two likes and a wish where the wish is something they would like to see in the finished article.
  3. Get students to put post-it notes onto the computer screen of other students with WWW/EBI comments.

Questioning

Think, Pair, Share

Good for getting students to think and then review their ideas against a peer.  Explained in detail at http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/PD/instr/strats/think/.   You can challenge students to share a pointless answer – in the style of the TV Quiz game.

Pause and Engage

Pause and Engage is a phrase taken from Rugby Scrums but it can be easily applied in the classroom where its also known as Hands Up But Not Yet - in some classrooms the practice of hands up has been stopped – see questions.  The theory behind Pause and Engage is that before learners respond to a question or ask for help they should pause and think.  This leads to more thoughtful and considered answers or indeed questions.

Socratic Questioning

1: Clarify – check students understanding by probing deeper with questions like “Why did you say that?” or “What makes you think that?”

2: Challenge Assumption – ask students “Will this always be the case?” or “What would happen if?” to deepen their knowledge.

3: Evidence for Argument – get students to provide supporting evidence for their point e.g. “How valid is the evidence?”  or “Is this a robust argument?”

4: Consider different angles – as students “Are there different sides to this argument?” or “Is there another way to solve this problem?”

5: Implications – get students to think about the consequence of their arguments with questions like “Are there any knock on effects from your argument?” or “What are the consequences of your suggestion?”

6: Question the question – get students to consider why you asked that question e.g. “Why did I ask that question?” or to consider how it fits in with their learning e.g. “How does this fit in with our learning?”

Credit to Mark Anderson (ICT Evangelist)

 

Feedback

Have I done enough Yet (National Curriculum Levels)?

In the past this was a phrase I heard from students but ensuring they understand what the level descriptors (or exam specification) means can prevent it.  Get the students to turn the descriptors into their own words.

Oscar Wilde’s Advice.

Taken from Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892) “A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing is an Oscar Wilde quote but it can be applied within learning to the value of grades and feedback. Learners can get so caught up in the price of a grade that they forget the value in the comments you give alongside it. Giving students low grades can demotivate them whilst carefully selected and encouraging comments can praise their achievements and show them how to progress further.

In this sense instant verbal feedback during the lesson can achieve more than a simple written sentence received a week later by the learner.

Even Better If (WWW/EBI)

In some ways this is an extension or development to the classic praise burger.  Rather than give two positives and a negative we give a postive followed by an improvement – the improvement telling the learner how to improve.  When giving feedback to learners, praise something they did and show them how it could be improved.

Example:  Well done, your presentation communicates its message clearly but might be even better if you had a consistent style.

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