Induction session 8.7 - AVU workshop November 2014
1 Additional resources for this session
2 Making use of Enquiry Ideas
Same-task group work (10 min) on making use of enquiry ideas Below are five enquiry ideas (A-E) that could be turned into an enquiry in your class. Please note that these are just enquiry ideas which means that you need to go through substantial thinking and planning for the ideas to be introduced in a lesson to engage students in their own enquiry. It may be that you do not find some of the ideas useful at all, in which case you are welcome to come up with your own enquiry ideas to discuss as a group.
Divide yourself into groups of three or four teachers. You should read through all the enquiry ideas and eventually pick one or two ideas for the group activity that you will be working on together in this session and in the next two weeks. As you are reading through these ideas, think about the following:
- Are the ideas interesting and engaging for my students?
- Are the ideas relevant to the curriculum? What subject will it be most relevant to introduce them to?
- What can be an appropriate lesson objective(s) if you do make use of the enquiry ideas?
- What kind of resources will you need and are they easily accessible to you and your students?
- How will you introduce the ideas in the first lesson (recall what are some of the ways to present your questions that you have learnt in the previous session) and how many lessons do you think you will need to complete the enquiry process?
2.1 Enquiry Ideas: Investigating my body and how it works
Children are naturally curious about how their bodies work so this is a rich area to draw on for enquiry ideas. A simple and straight forward enquiry into pulse rate and how it varies with exercise requires minimal equipment, just a stopwatch (or a clock with a second hand) and some accurate counting. Students can come up with different types of exercise such as running on the spot/sprinting/going up and down stairs and see how these affect their pulse rate. They could also look at whether or not their pulse rate is different when they are lying down.
Here is a short video of a Zambian teacher working on an enquiry topic centred around how our bodies work: investigating lung capacity.
For more ideas, see Starting the enquiry based learning process.
3 Creating a supportive environment for learning
3.1 Introducing cumulative talk - creating a story together
Cumulative talk is talk in which all participants agree and add to the previous talk (or sentence).
Cumulative talk (10 min): Creating a story together. All the participants get up to rearrange the seating. Arrange the group in a horseshoe seating arrangement(a) if there is room. If not, choose another arrangement allowing participants to see each other. Facilitator starts a story by saying one sentence. All participants then contribute to the story by adding sentences.
A good story would:
- be contextually appropriate: for example, use common names of characters and a setting familiar to participants
- have a theme relevant for participants such as education (girl-child receiving schooling later supports family), importance of forests and wildlife (saving a snake later becomes useful for the invention of new medicine), treatment of diseases (steps taken by a family to treat an ill person) etc.
- be short and have few characters, and
- have a problem which is collectively resolved in the end
For instance, you could create a story about welcoming a new child to the school, perhaps a child with an impairment of some kind. The facilitator starts by saying: "The other day, I heard my neighbours talking about whether their child should be starting school, because their child has difficulty walking, and they were not sure whether children like that should go to school." (Relates to Index for Inclusion, A1.1 Everyone is welcomed.)
Story building introduces the notion of cumulative talk but moving to talk about curriculum topics is the next step and of most relevance across subject areas.
Facilitator can explain that during classroom discussion about a curriculum topic, the teacher can introduce the notion of Talk Rules, if needed. Some examples are:
- “everybody listens when one person talks” because they have to add to what has previously been said
- “respect others’ ideas” by adding to their idea, rather than changing it
- “make sure everyone in the group understands”
- “try to reach consensus in the end” (participants don’t need to actually come to agreement, but the process of trying gets people to listen properly to each other)
You may want to ask participants to generate their own examples of Talk Rules.
The activity we just did is an example of “cumulative talk”, where participants build on what the previous person has said (“cumulative talk” is one way of moving towards whole class dialogue – which involves more reasoning and argumentation).
3.2 Introduction to the lesson (for context)
Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min): Video on classification of vertebrates. In the ongoing OER4Schools sessions, the teachers would already be familiar with Eness' lesson. However, just to introduce Eness' lesson, let's watch these two videos:
3.3 Whole class discussion: Creating a supportive environment
Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min): Video on classification of vertebrates. Video clips Eness vertebrates 10 ("Is a boy a mammal?") and 11 ("Is a whale a fish or a mammal?"); lively class discussion about classifying these animals, deliberately chosen to create controversy and to challenge the pupils
- Was there a supportive environment for pupil participation and dialogue in this lesson?(Relates to: LfL, 2) If so, how did the teacher achieve this?
- How did she help students to work out whether the boy and the whale were mammals? Did this discussion move their thinking forward?(Relates to: LfL, 1)
- What did you think about teacher control and pupil learning in these video clips? How would a horseshoe seating arrangement have impacted on this?
- How would you manage something similar in your classroom? How would you encourage pupil talk without losing too much control?
Did participants notice the “wait time” after asking a question before the teacher made a further contribution or question? Increasing wait time a little increases thinking time, and in turn leads to an improvement in the quality of students' responses.
3.4 Reflection on what we have learned
- Body language for encouraging dialogue
- Cumulative talk
- Encouraging most pupils to talk
- Withholding feedback sometimes to motivate pupils without fear of “wrong” answers: not evaluating pupil responses, just accepting them
- Forming rules for dialogue
- Managing the tension between control and learners’ freedom to contribute
3.5 Cumulative talk in the classroom
- Consider that when this activity is done in the classroom with pupils, themes should be chosen from the curriculum.
- Also consider that the seating arrangement can be modified according to teachers’ classrooms, such that pupils see each other. Pupils can leave their tables and just move their chairs (or sit outside if the grounds are suitable).
As you are planning this activity, ask youself the following questions:
- Do your students find it easy to talk?
- How can you encourage students to talk?
- Are some students likely to laugh at other students' contributions? How can you create safe environments that enable students to take risks?(Relates to: LfL, 2.4)
You can use the activity template if you like.
- What is interactive teaching?
- What interactive techniques do you know?
- How often have you used such techniques?
What is a "whole group brainstorm"?
Make it clear to the participants that you want to hear from everyone and that they shouldn't worry if they're not sure but should have a go at making a suggestion... we will develop our collective understanding as time goes on (what are teachers’ expectations?). There are no wrong answers, just ideas. Here we have used a number of questions to give participants an idea of how wide ranging their responses can be. The aim of this brainstorm is to find out what participants know, think and feel about interactive teaching.
If participants are not very forthcoming, probe them with additional questions, e.g. 'What do you think interactive teaching might be? Is it the same as learner-centred teaching?'
If you are part of our “facilitators program”, use the tools provided to capture the discussion.
4.1 Brainstorming in the classroom
The following activity is same-task group work, done in pairs. So for this part of the session you are doing group work, where the groups are pairs. Just ask participants to turn to each other.
Same-task group work (5 min): Discussion in pairs of what brainstorming(a) looks like in the classroom. Now that we have done a brainstorm in the workshop, what does a brainstorm in the classroom look like? Do you think your students would like this activity? How could you make sure that all students get actively involved? Discuss this with your neighbour.
Make sure that participants get the idea of what a brainstorm is.
You do not need to go round all the groups. You can just ask whether people have more to add.
- What are you noticing?
- At what point(s) in the lesson could this be used?
- What do you think the students are learning from this?
- How are they learning?
- Can brainstorming be used with large classes too, where there isn’t time for everyone to contribute each time? How would you adapt it for this?
- What are the benefits of brainstorming?
- What makes a brainstorm successful?
- What do you think about the teacher's comment "since I want all of you to participate, no hands up, OK"?
This clip from a Grade 3 classroom illustrates how the teacher solicits (and records) different students’ views without evaluating them.
Note that the clip shows the start of a session but it can be done at any point in a lesson. It shows a brainstorm – with unique contributions, allowing time to think first, 'no hands up’(a) technique.
Workshop participants continue with the discussion.
During the discussion, record what participants are contributing. You could do this on a piece of paper, or on the board. You could also appoint a scribe, who does this for you, leaving you free to manage the discussion.
Benefits of brainstorming include:
- giving everybody an opportunity to speak,
- encouraging students to contribute a large range of ideas,
- reduces the fear of risk taking, and
- shows respect for all participants (making sure that students do not laugh at each other).
At the end of the discussion, summarise the outcomes of the discussion, including any key points the participants have made.
Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min): Summary. Summarise, and discuss the proper meaning of what a brainstorm is. You can refer to OER4Schools/activities/brainstorming to find out more.
Make sure that all participants understand what a brainstorm is.
What is the purpose of a brainstorm? It can have many purposes, but one purpose is that a brainstorm is a good way of finding out what they already know. So to go from the "known to the unknown".
5 Giving formative feedback
Read the Science question below and the responses from two students.
Lesson Objective: We are learning ways of preventing being infected by malaria.
Success Criteria: I will be successful if I can write at least two correct ways of preventing the malaria infection, communicating clearly and in some detail.
Question: Imagine you are going to visit someone in an area that is known to be infested with mosquitoes. Describe two ways to avoid being infected by malaria.
Sample student’s response:
Mary: I will avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes because malaria is very unpleasant.
Mulenga: As mosquitoes bite particularly at night, I will make sure I sleep in rooms that have a good mosquito net or wear a long-sleeved shirt. If I can plan in advance, I will visit a doctor to take some preventive medicine.
- What will be my feedback to Mary? Why?
- What will be my feedback to Mulenga? Why?
Role play (5 min) teacher-student feedback in pairs. Break into pairs, assign roles (teacher, Mary/Mulenga), and do a role play for 5 minutes. The person playing the teacher gives the feedback (based on the brainstorm you have just done), and the other participant (playing first Mary and then Mulenga) responds to the teachers comments or keeps a note of how the feedback makes them feel. Then swap roles and role play again.
Encourage participants to provide different formative feedback to each of the students. This may involve:
i. Acknowledge Mary’s attempt to respond to the question - prompt her to elaborate more on how he/she could avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
ii. Give full credits to Mulenga for her response through positive affirmation that comments on how she has addressed the success criteria (eg she has highlighted important strategies, clearly stated, nicely detailed). Also consider challenging her by encouraging her to think of another preventive way of being infected by malaria or whether she knows what preventive drug can be used.
It is expected that participants’ feedback will evolve during the brainstorm. This will happen if you reinforce the points below through modelling them yourself.
Limit the time to 5 minutes.
Whole group dialogue (5 min): Whole group discussion on teacher-student role plays. Come back together as a group. Discuss the role plays. Was is easier to give feedback to Mary or Mulenga? How did you feel when you were receiving feedback? Make a note of any particular points that you could use in the future when giving feedback to students.
While giving formative feedback (individually or in whole class):
- always begin with what is good about students’ work or which success criteria have been met and appreciate students’ responses
- ask students to reflect on which criteria was/were not met before you tell them.
- ask students what they could do next time/could have done this time to meet the success criteria
- suggest some points on which students could act immediately/in near future
- for high achievers suggest some points that can be achieved beyond the success criteria
Ask participants to pay particular attention to the words that they use - sensitive language that guides students for further action/effort is best. The feedback should be directed at students’ responses or work and NOT at the students themselves.
At the end of each session, we provide an overview of the activities in this session, together with their suggested timings. Although this appears at the end of the session (for technical reasons), you should keep an eye on this throughout the session, to make sure that you are pacing the workshop session appropriately!
Total time: 130 (min)
Activities in this session:
- Same-task group work (10 min) on making use of enquiry ideas
- Cumulative talk (10 min): Creating a story together.
- Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min): Video on classification of vertebrates.
- Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min): Video on classification of vertebrates.
- Whole class dialogue (10 min): on the learning environment and classroom management.
- Whole class dialogue (10 min): Reflecting on what you have learnt.
- Same-task group work (10 min): in pairs: Planning cumulative talk in the classroom.
- Whole class brainstorm (10 min) on interactive teaching.
- Same-task group work (5 min): Discussion in pairs of what brainstorming(a) looks like in the classroom.
- Whole class dialogue (5 min): Reporting back from the discussion
- Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min): Watch video of a brainstorm.
- Whole class dialogue (15 min): Discussion on the brainstorm video.
- Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min): Summary
- Whole class dialogue (5 min): Whole group brainstorm on what feedback to give the students.
- Role play (5 min) teacher-student feedback in pairs.
- Whole group dialogue (5 min): Whole group discussion on teacher-student role plays.
If you have printed this session for offline use, you may also need to download the following assets:
- Video/Aggie lung capacity.m4v (local play / download options)
- Video/Eness vertebrates 4.mp4 (local play / download options)
- Video/Eness vertebrates 5.mp4 (local play / download options)
- Video/19 Eness 3 vertebrates 10.mp4 (local play / download options)
- Video/19 Eness 3 vertebrates 11.mp4 (local play / download options)
- Video/Eness vertebrates 1.mp4 (local play / download options)