The quotation “Students need tangible evidence of success.” from Dr. Tom Guskey during his Learning Forward pre-conference session on December 3, 2011 has me considering
What tangible evidence of success do we offer our learners?
Please don’t say grades or graded papers! Far too often learners focus on where they have “failed”, not on what they’ve done well. Think about your own professional review. Do you focus on all of the things that your evaluation tells you that you are doing well, or do you zoom in on the “needs improvement” section? How do we help learners find their bright spots?
I appreciate when others acknowledge and appreciate my bright spots. Bright spot feedback motivates me to continue to work and strive to learn and grow. Is that true for others?
How often do we focus our work and efforts on the weaknesses and errors rather than what is working well? What if we flipped this around? Could we accept the challenge? What can we do so illuminate our learners’ bright spots? How can we offer our learners tangible evidence of success? … every learner!
One of my students, MR, says
“I think that the formative assessments are great!! They really help me to study and they help me to know what will be on the tests and what I need to further study! Knowing that level three is the target level, always giving us a goal to strive for and to study for is great!”
“I truly believe the formative assessments are helpful for using as study guides for tests. I use them as study guides and I learn from my mistakes through them. I do like the fact that they are not graded because it takes the pressure off of taking them and makes me believe it is okay if you do not know the material at first. They are really helpful for going back and looking at what I missed, and then ask you for help on those questions. Having the four levels really helps because I know what levels I need to work on so that I can keep moving up to a higher level.”
“makes me believe it is okay if you do not know the material at first.”
Non-graded assessment opportunities, yes, but what else can we do to offer our learners tangible evidence of success? Can we build a list? Can you brainstorm with me?
Here’s our list, so far…
- Promote listening and communicating with all by offering learners the opportunity to backchannel. (Be brave! What will they discuss?) – Help learners have a voice in a community. Facilitate guided opportunities for all to have a voice and to have the opportunity to reflect and review the thinking of the team. When others repeat, respond, and add to your idea, you have tangible evidence of success.
- Encourage publishing thoughts and ideas for feedback and review from others by offering learners the opportunity to blog. Model taking risks. Help your learners publish. Model sharing and collaborative learning. When others repeat, respond, and add to your idea, you have tangible evidence of success.
Also worth repeating:
Model taking risks. Model sharing and collaborative learning.
What have you found that offers learners tangible evidence of success?
And…don’t forget…you are a learner, too.