How do we know our students are learning?
I'd like to share an idea that I have been thinking about for the last couple of weeks. It has to do with learning more about just how much my students are actually learning in my PE program. Although I'm confident that my students are having a very good experience in my classes and that they are quite engaged, the depth to which they are learning is most important to me to understand.
So, even though I can see that my students are learning, I would like to put to the test the depth to which this is actually taking place. Ensuring that my students are fully aware of the expected learning outcomes in a unit is a must and much of what I do is geared toward ensuring this happens. However, understanding what these learning outcomes are and being able to practically apply them is a different story.
Our PE network on Twitter has been instrumental in helping me to deepen my own practice and to bounce ideas out there via my blog. The PEPLC initiative that I kick started a year and a half ago, with the help of Nathan Horne and Kelly Ann Parry, was very rewarding to be a part of as it brought teachers together to set professional growth goals and be teamed up with other educators to help journey toward these goals.
Our network has so many dedicated and passionate physical educators and I am looking to team up with a few to trial out something that I think will be extremely useful in truly assessing the student learning taking place in our programs. Here is how I see it working...
Essentially what I am proposing is that we call in on Skype to each other's PE classes from time to time to interview students about what they are learning. For example, right now I am doing a net games unit in grade 4 PE. The learning outcomes have been made explicit and the students have set goals that they are working on. What I would like to set up is having a fellow teacher from our PE network Skype into my grade 4 class. This teacher would randomly select 5-6 students and interview them. The goal of these interviews would be to ask my students a few questions that would allow them to opportunity to share their learning with this person. The interviewer would record the information then provide feedback to me about the learning that is taking place.
Is this a perfectly reliable measure of the learning taking place in my PE program? Not quite, but the information gathered is still very valuable in the process of me learning about the learning taking place in my program.
Having an outsider interview my students would provide me with some valuable insight from a different perspective. I would then of course do the same for the teacher who Skyped into my class. A list of questions could be agreed on ahead of time to help the process run more efficiently.
If you are interested in being a part of this initiative, please click on the Google Form link below. If I see that a number of teachers are interested, I will connect people together to begin this process. Thanks. Hoping that a few of you will take me up on this idea!