Keep them thinking, identifying, solving, generating, creating, reflecting etc.
Our natural tendency at times can lean heavily toward giving the students answers to the big questions that we ask. At least in my case it does. There are times when I give the answers away too easily, so I am working hard to make them dig and to figure out more on their own. Not all questions need to be answered on the spot and appropriate time can and should be given to allow students to find important answers out on their own through the various learning experiences we have them engage in.
In my PE classes this week we are working on answering the following question-- How does feedback help us to improve in movement composition? I am trying to get my students tuned into the importance of giving specific feedback and to steer away from making general statements when providing feedback to their peers. I noticed that a lot of the feedback students were giving to one another was very general and not really that helpful in identifying what exactly needs to be improved upon. Giving authentic feedback is a skill that needs to be worked on and practiced. If the students were given feedback that was not helpful in identifying what specifically needed to be done to improve performance, I encouraged them to ask for clarification from their peers. For example, simply saying that "your timing needs to be better" is not good enough. The students were required to be as specific as possible when giving feedback.
The visual that you see above was created to serve as a visual reminder of how feedback can help us improve in movement composition. For a number of classes, this poster remained mostly blank with only the question on it. I kept asking the students the question and when they had answers I would record them in my journal. I then created the visual with the main ideas that they had come up with in regards to how feedback can help.
Using this visual as a springboard, I created a second visual that contained key questions related to the ideas that the students had generated for improving feedback in the above visual. I now have a list of guiding questions in place that can be used for the rest of the unit to help stimulate discussion about giving good feedback and to remind the students of what they need to do when providing authentic feedback to their peers. I believe that this is making thinking visible and helps to focus the students' learning as we progress through a unit. You can see the list of key teachers questions that will help to guide the students over the last few weeks of our movement composition unit.
To summarize, I believe it is better that the students come up with big ideas and that we shouldn't give away important answers so easily hence the Better Them Than Us title to this blog post. Make them work to find out! Thanks for reading. Hope my ideas help you out!