Session 115 – How much say should we give our students in what and how they learn?


Session Title: How much say should we give our students in what and how they learn?

Date: Thursday 13th September 2012

Hosted by: @ukedchat & @IctMagic


Summary of the Session:

When questioned, most schools will admit to some sort of pupil voice policy, but this ukedchat session went in search of what this actually looked like. Paying lip-service to a pupil voice policy, or school council can feel pupils feeling that their voices are not important within the school community. Providing pupils a sense of ownership in the curriculum delivered can be a great way of engaging, helping them make decisions as they move on into life, rather than being spoon fed all the way.

Once again, the education profession stands on in awe at colleagues in Early Years settings who do give pupils the freedom to choose their learning – mastering this before they hit the confines of more formalised schooling from the age of five!

Hywel Roberts advocated that children need to be show the benefits of learning, opening new ways of thinking and exploration with items that resonate with them. This is crucial in empowering pupils, and can be incorporated through group projects, and teaching each other. The teacher still has a major role in this by developing wide open questions, helping develop pupil voice and understanding.

Empowering pupils is all very well, but consideration needs to be given to pupils who are “Inhibited, permission-seeking conformists”. At this point, we were reminded about teachers who opened interest in various topics or areas which we were ignorant of. Teaching of such areas and topics still needs to play a role in the curriculum, but with continual examination that the learning is rich and valuable. 

Constantly reviewing the curriculum, reflecting on what is received and how it is taught – feedback is essential for success. A valid point was raised, in that producing resilient learners with the ability to think is highly important, regurgitating ‘knowledge’ is not as essential.

This session resonated with educators from different stages of the education system, with everyone being reminded that OFSTED inspectors only see a tiny fraction of our teaching, whereas students see a much greater percentage of our teaching. Who really are the better judges?

Notable Tweets from the Session:
@SwayGrantham – chn need an opportunity to make decisions, it’s an important skill set to learn #ukedchat
@ChrisEdwards83 – #ukedchat if we want to engage chn in their learning, they need to feel a sense of ownership.
@cherrylkd – @StephenConnor7 @ictmagic That’s very true. Masters of own learning in EYFS; we remove it in KS1 #ukedchat
@HYWEL_ROBERTS – #ukedchat chn need to be shown benefit of learning; it should also resonate with them: streetwise to worldwise.
@louisashenton – Strong believer in empowering learners to take responsibility through grp projects &; teaching each other. Enjoy being in control. #ukedchat
@HYWEL_ROBERTS – #ukedchat Wide open fat questions (whilst maintaining integrity of lrning) also important. These qs develop pupil voice + understanding
@headguruteacher – #ukedchat  Kids can be such inhibited permission-seeking conformists; We need to liberate them to direct their own learning and explore…
@MrsPTeach – #ukedchat this year I’m trialling giving topics an enterprise focus so there is point and purpose for learning.
@piersyoung – As I child I loved teachers who told me about topics/areas I was totally ignorant of. (Still do). Does student voice prevent that? #ukedchat
@bekblayton – You have to careful to address all chd needs, not just the louder ones. Topic planning Qs, use of open Qs all help  find a voice #ukedchat
@mrs_minstrel – @ukedchat as a trainee i like the NC as i feel it’s good to have a structure to work to. i feel that a certain degree of it helps creativity
@Carlsberg40 – @ICTmagic supporting tchers letting chn direct learning or teaching, so it’s meaningful. If it doesn’t work doesn’t mean failure #ukedchat
@Pekabelo – #ukedchat a national curriculum for learning not just a bunch of stuff to cover. That would empower students to make informed decisions
@ePaceonline – #ukedchat producing resilient learners with the ability to think is highly important, regurgitating ‘knowledge’ is not as essential.
@thingsbehindsun – balance between syllabus and beyond always crucial, also to differentiate between the two. Exams defined by syllabus, not learning #ukedchat
@ICTmagic – If kids are leading the curriculum, how do we ensure equal coverage? Should that be our aim? Classroom curriculum rather than NC? #ukedchat
@EricWareham – #ukedchat – students AND teachers need to reflect constantly on what is received and how it is taught – feedback is essential for success
@thingsbehindsun – Inspectors watch approx 1 of my lessons every few thousand.  Each Sixth Former watches about 20% per week.  Who’s the best judge? #ukedchat
@headguruteacher – @kiranjoza #ukedchat  Often after I’ve said ‘present research any way you like’, kids file out saying ‘is it ok if…’, ‘am I allowed to..’
@yesiamemmab – In an ideal world children would have a big say in what was taught to them, but politics and institution takes over… #ukedchat
@mrthomson – At KS3 there’s massive scope for students being able to suggest what to learn – national curriculum can be covered easily #ukedchat
@MichelleDhillon – And teachers need to be able to act on the more sensible ideas put forward by chn. More creative thinking needed imo #ukedchat
@Jivespin – Student voice must move away from the typical themes of the canteen and toilets to have any value in a 21st century school #ukedchat




115 – Ukedchat Archive 13 September 2012


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