As a teacher I value pupil voice and understand the importance of quality feedback which needs to be more of a conversation than a statement. In practice though it can be difficult to achieve this without it becoming unmanageable. One change to my teaching practice this week has really made a difference to the quality of the feedback between myself and my class. The red pen!
End of the red pen as a teacher's weapon
Under guidance from GwE our school dropped our use of the red pen this year and switched to green. I have never really appreciated the negative connotations of the red pen and believe that if you switch colour any negative connotations pupils do have towards one colour pen will simply be switched to the new colour. As a result of our switching we had a stock of red pens going spare in the store cupboard.
Reintroduction of the red pen for pupil voice
Red is naturally a prominent colour that stands out and it stands to reason that as a teacher you want to hear the learners voices as loudly and clearly as possible. Giving learners ownership of the red pens in order to make comments on their own work has really made the thoughts of the learners obvious within their exercise books and highlighted any changes they make to their work as part of the editing process following completion of draft pieces of work.
The result of red pen revival
Since using the red pen learners have really thought about what the good points of their work are and also been keen to show that they know how to improve. As a teacher this saves me from making suggestions for improvements that they can make for themselves and instead focus on the more subtle ways that they can raise the quality of their work. It is such a simple and effective idea that I can't understand why I didn't think of it earlier.
Viva la red pen!
The Past Week
Star: - The amount of learners who had positive things to say on Friday afternoon relating to lessons they had enjoyed throughout the week.
Wish: - That I could focus on quality educational experiences all the time and not be weighed down by testing and evidence!
The Week Ahead
I normally pride myself in delivering at least one top quality lesson per day. Recently too much of my teaching has focused on test preparation and this has led to a decline in the enjoyment that I and the learners in my class have working and learning together on exciting ideas. With one week to go before half term it's time to return to lessons that are memorable, make use of a variety of learning styles and are most importantly fun!