Green Cross Learning (Stop, Look and Listen)

I have been working on a scheme of work for the past few weeks. I am quite proud of it actually – it contains some activities that I have never used before and has lots of variety. I think it works on several levels and challenges the way that students usually view and interact with the subject matter (the Great War).

Sitting back and looking at my creation, I was wondering whether the students in my classes would like it. I am sure that they will enjoy certain elements, but the truth is that I do not know.

I will soon though. I now make it a policy to try out new schemes of work with one class before inflicting it on the rest of the community. I get them to give me regular feedback on their opinions and work with a small group of students to tweek and sometimes transform lessons. I have even invited students from other groups to come and observe my lessons and have an input.

The point of all this is that the students have very clear ideas about what might and what does work. They know their stuff and when consulted, they can have some great ideas.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not going to let students write a scheme of work for themselves – they are not the trained professionals in the room! – but I am going to let them say what they like and don’t like and I am not going to get offended.

Student Voice in lessons is no different to a Mobile Phone company responded to the needs of its customers and altering their service plan. Students are on the receiving end and may perceive your intentions differently to how you imagined (there is a whole theory on this – Oppositional Reading).

Look what can happen if you let students loose on a topic:

http://tinyurl.com/o9apla

Student Voice is the basis for any creative solution in teaching. You need to have a good idea about what students in a group like and don’t like, how they prefer to learn and what they find acceptable. Armed with this information you can create a fantastic scheme or series of lessons. The beauty is that it is so simple to set up – teach a lesson and then ask students to write down on a post-it their favourite and least favourite part of the lesson.

It’s a start…

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nwatkin

I am a History teacher who is enthusiastic about new technology, new ideas and music.

0 thoughts on “Green Cross Learning (Stop, Look and Listen)”

  1. Completely agree. It's such a shame that some teachers (and the NASUWT) see asking pupils what they think of your lessons as a threat, rather than the best tool available for improving your teaching and their learning.

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  3. Hi AsherJac,

    It was good to hear from you, and thanks for the link to the TES debate ( http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6020426&navcode=94 ). The argument by Chris Keates is an interesting one and should be taken seriously. There are many schools out there that do place too much credence with the views of students on matters that they can never understand. As I said above:

    “Don’t get me wrong. I am not going to let students write a scheme of work for themselves – they are not the trained professionals in the room! – but I am going to let them say what they like and don’t like and I am not going to get offended”

    There are limits on what students can handle – what they like and dislike is about the long and short of it. Tom Kelley shows this quite clearly in ‘Ten Faces of Innovation’ when discussing the research phase of product development.

    Chris Keates says, “In short, in some schools, student voice is being used to legitimise a management perspective and as a crude and inappropriate tool to monitor teacher effectiveness” and I agree with him. What I would say is that teachers need to take student voice into their own hands and work with their students in their classrooms. If teachers do the student voice sessions and do not wait to have it done to them, then many of the nightmare scenarios that Chris Keates mentions could be avoided.

    I agree with your comment on the TES site: we should not block a powerful tool like this from every classroom. What I would say is that the topic definitely needs more discussion. So, thank you for contributing here and for replying to the TES article – the profession needs more people to stuck their head above the parapet.

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