Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Lights are on but is Anybody Home?- Exploring Alternative Pupil Response Approaches

I carried out some action research in my Primary school last year; investigating the ways pupils respond to teachers' questions (this was prior to the introduction of Ipads).  The research included interviews with groups of Upper KS2 pupils, email interviews with teachers; and questionnaires from parents, pupils and teachers.  -

The alternative response approaches investigated were:
-Random Selection- lollysticks (lolly lotto)
-Choosing a particular child
-Talk partners
-Visual response equipment
(e.g. Number fans, digit cards, money fans etc)
-Voting     (investigated in my MA)
-Mini whiteboards

My findings were that (at my school, and perhaps similar schools):

Teachers should:
-Ask less questions (to encourage children to ask more!)

-Plan response approaches that encourage children to ‘think and interact for more of the learning time’ (i.e. random selection, voting etc), instead of overreliance upon ‘hands up’.

-Make judgements about  which approach (e.g. selecting a particular child, random selection using lollysticks) would suit the lesson content and pupils’ understanding of it, at certain points throughout classroom talk.

-Arrange pupils in the room so they have an equal chance of receiving attention from the teacher.

-Explain, to pupils, how the response approaches work (including laws of probability)- as pupils didn't feel that teachers were always being fair when they selected pupils to answer questions.

-Plan teacher-led (and TA led) small groups to further develop issues/misconceptions arising from whole-class discussions (it appeared that Literacy hour style guided groups were on the decline).

-Explore the potential of polling apps on mobile devices e.g. Kahoot

I would be interested to receive any comments about this work.  Thanks for reading my post.
Heidi Singleton

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