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:
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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