Thursday, 10 April 2014

Head down, proverbial up ;)

I have been very quiet on the blog front this term/year, mostly a result of taking on a Y13 class for the first time, and (just quietly) being overwhelmed with not only getting my head around the content, but getting the right 'angle' on the achievement standards, and finally drowning in marking so that I can give good personalised feedback.

I'm a huge fan of peer-marking, and this works wonders at Year 11 and at the end of the year for all year levels, but I'm finding there is such subtlety in the way questions are worded, and expected to be answered that peer-marking is more blind-leading-the-blind, and they aren't picking up on the nuances of what they 'need' for their answers.

I'm still aiming for a differentiated approach where possible - eg. giving students a mini-project/case study for examples relating to the processes involved, rather than telling them directly, and giving them choice as to what work they submit for feedback (within reason!), but I am finding it more challenging than my other classes in which I know the content inside out, and so can let the students wander away from it, investigating other ideas, while knowing the points we still have to hit (external standards).

I guess this year takes me back to when I was freshly out of TCol, and allows me to realise just how far I have come in a reasonably short time. When I left TCol, I had a very different take on what made effective pedagogy, and I'm so glad to have found a multitude of different ways of doing things, especially in feeling comfortable enough to let students take the wheel, while I give navigation directions. In time, I intend this to be true for Y13 too, but I am accepting that I can't always do everything perfectly, especially when balancing a home life too.

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