Feedback Friends: Helping students take ownership of their growth.
Engagement has always been an important aspect of my classroom. It seems to me that if students are not engaged in the material we teach then success is far out of reach. With my initial round of research around active listening I was interested to see if listening skills were explicitly taught if students would be more capable of exhibiting engaged behavior. It turns out that they can! When taught HOW to listen they do it magnificently. After finding this out my driving question transformed into more of a question based in how do can we get kids to want to listen. I remembered hearing from Michael McDowell that 90% of the feedback students get throughout the day from their peers is wrong. This was huge! I wanted to hone in on peer feedback to make it effective and engaging so that students could help each other make improvements to their work. I found that the new technology tool called Seesaw that I had recently started using in my classroom would enable me to monitor and scaffold effective peer feedback so that it was helpful. By no means was Seesaw ever a "fancy pencil". It has helped me transcend what was previously impossible in my classroom. I wanted to give kids control over their own learning. I wanted them to take ownership of their success and actively work to improve their work.
As extremely social beings we value being part of a group. We are pack animals so to speak. We thrive off of positive recognition. This is deeply rooted in our psychological make up. Rewards and punishments, operant conditioning and extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Responsive teaching and taking into account how the brain learns and what motivates students should be cornerstone to the teaching process. This project is a result of taking what we already know about the brain and how students learn, and applying what we know to how we teach.
I definitely hope to continue this change in my teaching. I hope to bring this to the rest of my school and inspire them to try it out next year. I have been talking to my principal about the work I am doing for a really long time so I am hoping that he will allow me some time to present it at a staff meeting. The other way my capstone project will be able to live on is by producing a website that is not just filled with information, but can also be seen as a resource that people can come back to time and time again to help them scaffold peer feedback inside their own classrooms.