Putting the step back in action – Part 1

New Zealand Graduating Standard 4.b

Graduating teachers use and sequence a range of learning experiences to influence and promote learner achievement.

Before I started out on my teaching experience, I mused on the idea that as a teacher I must Learn the art of stepping back well today I started putting into practice.

One of my year 8 classes was given a print out of their asTTLe pre-test for the unit that we are studying. This print out includes a list of strengths, achieved, not achieved and gaps in their knowledge over different Achievement Objectives in the New Zealand curriculum for that learning area. I then gave them a list activities from books and text books which support learning in those areas and placed the students in groups according to their test results. Finally I put up a sign-up sheet on the board where groups could sign up for mini-lessons with me on topics of their choosing.

From there I left it to the students

What happened next?

Well if you walked into my classroom you would have seen some groups working together on a topic, some students working individually. There were also students who elected to come up on a topic I had set to get the class started on the unit.

But what was amazing is that when I looked at the sign-up at the end of the lessons the students came up pretty much with what I would have planned form them anyway. The groups had allocated their time rather effectively with groups who need more assistance booked in for more lessons than the ones who were more confident in this part of the curriculum. The students had also self-selected the lessons I would have planned for them (I had done a shadow plan of the unit).

But why go through this process if we came to the same results?

Because the students needed to take ownership of their learning. Rather than me telling me what to learn and when, they’ve made the decisions. They’ve taken into account their personal timetables and learning networks to come up with a learning programme that suits their needs.

Oh and in case you are wondering, this plan was implemented not for English nor Social Studies but for Math.

My thanks to my Associate Teacher and Josh Stumpenhorst for the inspiration to implement this programme.

I’ll keep you updated on this class in the next few weeks.

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