Yesterday I posted two videos of students working in my lessons. In our department meeting today, we discussed the second video.
First viewing - initial observations
We started the meeting by solving the problem ourselves, then we watched the video.
In this bit of audio, we have just watched the video for the first time, have made a few notes, and are talking about our first impressions. The aim of this part of the meeting is to identify something what we might want to focus on in a second viewing.
Here are some initial observations:
Katy [00:37] "...I wrote fluid down, I just wrote words down to start off with... they were constantly changing and re=drafting things... there was a lot of comparing between people. It was very clear for us to see what they were doing, and we saw variety of techniques about how they were going about trying to solve the problem... re-drafting, comparing, referencing, ... "
Rich [01:36] "The girls didn't want to... they covered it all up... they were all standing there really close..."
Christian [01:45] "...the thing that I wrote the most for was this little subtitle called mistakes... there were lots of mistakes happening in that video, I think, and for me the most interesting thing for me was how Danny dealt this the mistakes... there was different ways - he ignored a couple of them, he gave a hint at the beginning... he corrected one of them..."
Danny [02:58] "I noticed that Yeasin [middle student of the left-most group] was on the right track for ages and they ignored him... someone else was looking in the book because they didn't really believe him, and he had the right answer all the time but they didn't really do anything about it... "
Identifying a focus for the second viewing
This is only the second time we have done this, and we are still developing how we want the process to operate.
In this next clip we spend a few minutes discussing the best way of conducting this video-watching process, and what the aims are - to identify and name basic-level actions that will improve our teaching.
In this clip I am aiming to pull some of the most interesting ideas together, to give examples of what might be fruitful, to focus the group. At [02:23] I ask again what we would like to focus on, saying "I like all of them, so I'll let you decide."
At this point, a crucial event occurs - Katy suggests we focus on one of our basic-level actions, namely:
'Student validation': students evaluate/validate each others responses, reaching a consensus of opinion rather than students always relying on the teacher, thereby distributing authority across the community, allowing them the space to make sense of responses .
Following this, Rich makes the interesting comment [02:55]: "Mmm, although I'm not sure they reach a consensus, I think normally the dominant person just.. does it."
We then discuss how this might be connected to student validation: Who has the authority/status in this classroom? How did the students reach a consensus of opinion (if indeed they did)?
We then watched the video a second time with the action student validation as our focus.
Discussion following the second viewing
This discussion starts with some interesting comments from Christian [00:20]: "All of the groups made some errors... why did those errors happen? They then righted themselves... and then I suppose what's interesting is: have all of them learned from that, or would they make the same mistakes again? It would be nice to say that the conversations helped them, but.. how do we know it helped them? I think I would want my students to be having those conversations, but then I would want to know - are they now going to be able to do that type of question?"
Pooja agrees [02:50], suggesting some of the students might have been "passive", and that some students were waiting for the correct answer to appear somewhere else: "what I typically see is that when they see the solution they understand it, but will they be able to deliver it on their own afterwards?"
Katy then talks about the 'split group' [04:48]: "There was a lot of talk at the start about who the authority was... they were unsure about what they were doing, and unsure who they should rely on... other groups seemed they could validate what they were writing better, they had a stronger conviction... but why? I wonder if they had stronger prior knowledge, perhaps they were just more confident... that was the most interesting group because they relied on the most authority things... maybe for them it was less about the sitting trying to work something out mathematically, and it was more of a social exercise, like who do we believe?"
We then ran out of tie. We wrapped it up by deciding to focus on the action student validation in our teaching over the next week.