Student Led Interviews
Reflection # 4
I am fortunate to work in a dynamic and creative school. A school that is passionate about delivering a balanced education for the students in its care. Challenging students academically, within the arts, physically and, to become environmental citizens of the future. A school that expects teachers and students to be reflective, critical and resilient.
So, when my Head suggested we pilot Student Led Conferences I was willing to see how it could be implemented across KS2.
Research, Research, Research
Reading and understanding current pedagogy and published school examples of Student Led interviews was my first point of reference. I read extensively, viewed clips and discussed with colleagues the pedagogy of students leading their learning.
I used this information to engage in robust dialogue about the best way forward. Incorporating my colleagues professional ideas and years of experience to the researched information, developing a model we felt was suitable for our students and the school.
Leading a Team
Prior to the first meeting, I shared with the team links to the research on current pedagogy about Student Led Interviews. Acutely aware that time is a precious resource for dedicated teachers; I did not want to waste it during the meeting reading material. In addition, I wanted the team to be on the same page, with the ability to think critically.
The agenda was set and shared with the team before the meeting; another strategy I felt would maximize discussion time.
During the first meeting, the team reviewed the research and engaged in professional discussions. Important information was documented in the minutes as well as next steps to be completed prior to subsequent meetings.
This cycle was repeated over several weeks until final decisions were implemented about Student Led Interviews.
The team was responsive and motivated with a common shared goal of preparing for the Student Led interviews.
Getting Close, The Interviews
Throughout the weeks of preparation for the Student Led interviews, I allocated time to review the process and make some adjustments, most of them to do with the organisational aspect for the event. The team were on target preparing the students by selecting activities and tasks, rehearsing the script. There was trust.
However, it wasn’t until close to the date of the Student Led interviews, that I realized there was something I had fundamentally missed. Despite the school’s expectation being one that its students are reflective and critical, these year groups did not have a culture of reflection of learning in their classroom. The lack of continuous reflective practice inhibited the students from deeply sharing their learning journey with their parents. The students scratched the surface, shared their ‘activities’ spoke about how much they liked the ‘task’.
A culture of this calibre must be established from day one, week 1, term 1 and continue to evolve and develop throughout the year.
A big red flag. How could it be addressed?
I took the time to review and analyse, listen to feedback from parents, students, staff, senior management, and my own overly critical self. I took a lot of time (it is now August and we held the interviews in February!) I wrote my thoughts down, read more articles and research, then pondered what could possibly be the best way forward.
I felt that preparation for Student Led Interviews (with depth) had to start in Week 0 of the new academic year if we want it to be a truly reflective Student Led interview.
- Set clear guidelines for consistency across KS2, work collaboratively with 5/6 Phase Leader to establish them.
- Possible guidelines: highlight own experiences and call on staff to share when they have created situations where both teacher and student are working together as evaluators of their impact, staff to regularly review school’s marking and feedback policy – use weekly year group meeting to highlight sections that focus on critical reflection from students and feedback from teacher, students post one high quality Seesaw reflection a week (provide students with scaffold of sentence starters if required), provide staff with a list of key questions to ask students to help them reflect on their learning, follow the LAUNCH cycle using success criteria.
- Phase leaders use additional release time to visit classrooms and talk to students about their learning.
- Share with staff articles and clips about students reflecting on their learning.
- Work collaboratively with Seesaw and LAUNCH Leaders to reinforce a culture of student reflection.
- Cycle information about student reflection during weekly year group meetings.
Leadership Lessons # 4
- Ensure the goal is clearly stated and fully understood.
- Reading and discussion may not be enough, monitoring during the preparation stages, using the final goal as the success criteria is also vital.
- Adjust and make amendments along the way.
- Offer exemplars.
- Hold ‘trial’ sessions after the exemplars.
- Regularly communicate with Phase Leaders of the team members.
- Return to the core/center/heartbeat of what you are aiming to achieve.