Action Research Reflection Questions:
- The main focus of my action research project was to investigate the effect the articulation of learning intentions has on student learning in my subject of maths language. It was anticipated that stating the specific learning intentions would provide a focus for the learning of the students and thus improve their learning.
- I believe that the intended purpose was achieved, was evident in my own personal observations and discussions with the students along with formal assessments of their learning. Videos documenting the difference before and after the introduction of learning intentions were particularly enlightening. When an objective observer asked the children what they were learning about they were much more easily able to articulate the focus of the lesson after a number of sessions.
- a. I learnt that it is extremely important for the teacher and the students to have a clear understanding of what the learning intention for the lesson is to be. It was very helpful to have the intention visible in the classroom for continual referral. Having a clear focus ensured that all activities and follow up assessments were relevant and meaningful.
b. I order to complete this action research I found it valuable to complete some professional reading. Discussions with colleagues were also very valuable to exchange ideas and to bounce ideas off each other.
c. The findings of the research project will motivate me and others to always plan with a clear learning intention in mind. This in turn, will influence all teaching and learning activities and thus improve student learning efficacy and engagement.
- There were no great problems with the action research project. The part of the research project that caused some consternation was the wording of the learning objectives themselves. What to call them? Should we have consistency across the classes? How best not to confuse the learning with the doing etc. this is all fine tuning which will continue to improve over time.
- I read the blogs of my own team most often and I was able to read the blogs of others as well. The insights I gained were useful and the fact that the same problems were encountered was encouraging.
- I enjoyed the process of documenting my learning on the blog, once I become familiar with how it was done!
- New professional learning needs which emerged from this experience include how to complete rubrics and learning matrices which will enable effective planning for the needs of the students. After implementing and introducing success criteria to the students, it became evident that the best way to differentiate outcomes for the children would be to use a rubric to present the success criteria. I intend to continue my professional development in this area.
I was not part of the process in Considering Evidence Protocol in previous PARTS so
Should the same success criteria used be all students?
How do we differentiate the success criteria to meet the needs of all students?
In my role as a specialist teacher, how best can I plan lessons and success criteria for the differing needs of the students?
These are some of the questions I have been pondering in my professional learning journey.
We know that effective teachers cater to the needs of all students and that learning should take place within proximal zone of development. So, with this in mind, the one WILF (what I’m looking for) or success criteria will not be sufficient.
If we are to differentiate the curriculum to meet the different needs of our students we need also to differentiate the success criteria. In this way, both students and teacher are able to assess the learning that takes place for each child; as well as the effectiveness of the lesson.
I do not have the luxury of a classroom teacher in an open classroom environment to team teacher or to create multi-grouping. Do I plan completely different activities or level the expectations for the same activity to cater for all students? The benefits of the latter include the fact that the same success criteria can be used for all students and presented in a rubric format which clearly demonstrates the progression of expectations.
I am finding the use of Learning Intentions or WALT very successful in focussing the children on the specfic learning intention of the lesson. During, an initial lesson when some foundation children were asked what they were learning about they were very excited about the story that had been read to them. The children were able to retell the story in great detail and which parts had made them laugh. They neglected to mention the focus of the lesson which was positional vocabulary. Recently, when the children were asked the same series of questions they were much more specfic in their answers and were able to quote the concepts which were the focus of the lesson. This time, although a story had been read to them and they had enjoyed it, they were much more clearly focussed on the concepts drawn from the story. I have not yet introduced the use of TIB, this is because, formally as I plan to take it one step at a time. however, I will begin to introduce it informally at the beginning of each lesson.
A recent session with level one students resulted in some interesting discoveries. The learning intention was to understand the concept of behind. The lesson included the reading the picture storybook: Rosie’s Walk, in which a fox follows a hen on her walk around the farm. The fox encounters a series of mishaps as he follows the guileless hen around the farm. The level one children were engrossed in the story and found it very entertaining! When an independent observer asked the children what they were learning about, they very excitedly recounted the story. Although , much discussion had taken place as to the learning intention and what the concept of behind meant, they were not yet able to articulate what the learning intention actually was. The children recounted the story about what happened to the fox, and although they were able to use the concept behind in their discussion, they did not clearly articulate the learning intention.
This highlighted the need for me to ad more emphasis to the the learning intention. In fact with level one children, intially I think it would be a good idea for the children to actually rehearse stating what the learning intention is until they become more familiar with the process. In discussion with my fellow specialist teachers we have decided to use the acronyms: WALT and WILF. We Are Learning To and What I am looking For. This will keep the language consistent and is more child friendly and will help the students to clearly articulate what the learning is.
More about WALT and WILT to come.
Feedback‘Provides information which allows the learner to close the gap between current and desired performance’
It is most effective when:
• It is effectively timed;
• It is clearly linked to the learning intention;
• The learner understands the success criteria/standard;
• It focuses on the TASK rather than the learner (self/ego);
• It gives cues at appropriate levels on how to bridge the gap: the task/process/self-regulation loop;
• It offers strategies rather than solutions;
• It challenges, requires action, and is achievable.
Have my Learning Intentions been achieved?
Success Criteria indicate how the learning intentions will be achieved.
Knowing where learners need to go: Success criteria –understanding what is needed
Success criteria need:
The Goldilocks’ PrincipleThe specification of learning intentions and success criteria has to be:
• Not too vague –‘It’s not that I haven’t learnt much. It’s just that I don’t really understand what I’m doing’. (15 yr old) Harris (1995)
• Not too detailed –behaviourist micro-teaching: “assessment as learning, where assessment procedures may come completely to dominate the learning experience and ‘criteria compliance’ come to replace ‘learning’” Torrance (2007)
• But just right –clarity of purpose, flexible, negotiated, allows some choice and personal autonomy
To foster a lifelong love of learning in children. To help them develop their thinking skills and the confidence to share their ideas with others.
What effect does the explicit articulation of learning intentions have on student learning in my subject?
What are Learning Intentions?
The learning intention (or objective) for a lesson or series of lessons is a statement which describes clearly what the teacher wants the students to
- understand; and
- be able to do
as a result of the learning and teaching activities.
Why Have Learning Intentions?
The teacher knows why the students are engaged in a particular activity, but the students are not always able to differentiate between the activity and the learning that it is meant to promote. A carefully framed learning intention will direct students’ attention to the learning. The learning intention emphasises what the students will learn, rather than what they will do.
The teacher shares this learning intention with her students, either orally or in writing. Sometimes the learning intention is written on the board and shared with students at the beginning of a lesson or unit. At other times it is not mentioned until after the engagement activity.