One area of my professional practice I challenge myself and constantly reflect on is assessment. It is such a powerful learning tool that can not only provide timely and effective feedback but can completely enhance the learning experience of the student. Bottom line: it is one of the most powerful learning tools a professional can use and we should always be striving to make changes to enhance student learning.
In October I had the opportunity to participate in the ConnectedPE conference in Dubai (pretty much the mecca for practices to create a high quality PE program), where I had the opportunity to learn and chat with two master class presenters; Andy Vasily (@andyvasily) and Shane Pill (@pilly66). Both were presenting on their “Power of Provocation” and “Developing Game Sense” respectively and both had separate power take always. In Andy’s session we explored the power of creating exploration within the students where teachers take a step back and simply become guides, and Shane’s session explored developing sport literacy and game sense through simplifying sports/activities into its key concept and progress from there.
At first I didn’t make a connection, but that lightbulb moment came right in the middle of my masterclass session where I explored physical literacy concept planning. Pretty sure I sat there for 30s just in thought while others were looking to me to facilitate my session. I guess inspiration comes on its own time.
This is where the idea of facilitating student created outcomes was born, and the process is as simple as setting the stage, encouraging thought and sitting back and watch the students do their thing.
Template for creating Student-Designed Outcomes
Since that moment of inspiration I was using this process to help facilitate students in creating their learner outcomes for our unit of exploration. At first it took 10 minutes and a lot of mental poking and encouragement, but now the students understand WHY we are creating these outcomes and how it has enhanced their engagement and understanding in the area of exploration.
So here is how it works!
1. Focus on an area of exploration (TGfU concepts are perfect for this!). This is done by the professional as a anchor for discussion and exploration.
2. Provide some examples to start the inquiry process. For the recent “Field and Striking Unit” I provided the obvious example of baseball. From their students would brainstorm and list games similar like cricket, rounders, etc.
3. Areas of Assessment: here I would let the students know what areas I would be assessing them on in this unit (Value of Physical Education (social and affective), Motor Competency, Tactical/Critical Thinking, Motivation/Confidence)
4. Create the WHY: Key Concept all these sports/games have in common. At first, this step took the most time and was the most difficult to not give the answer right away. Watching the group go from describing a triple play in baseball to “the offensive team strikes an object to an open area of the field and attempts to run to locations to score while the defensive team needs to retrieve and place the object in a location to stop the offensive team” was a entertaining/proud/hilarious moment as most of the students have never played any field and striking sport. We may have had to go over positive classroom interactions after…
5. HOW is the game/sport played: as a group we would move from the WHY concept and develop tactics and strategies of the game we could use as we explore this unit. This is a great opportunity to remind students that if I am assessing on the Tactical/Critical Thinking domain that these outcomes would be used to assess student development and reflection. We would also revisit this area of outcomes to potentially create new outcomes that students have created as we explore the unit or remove outcomes that may not apply. These also provided excellent “hooks” to center student learning on for specific classes.
6. WHAT Skill Should be Used: now that we have the tactics of the game, Students would break down the fundamental movements needed to play the sport and the “key points” of these skills. This provided for me an opportunity to informally assess the groups knowledge of skills, and modify my teaching if the group was advanced or still in development. This also provided the students the opportunity to become involved in creating skill based rubrics if my assessment area was on motor competency for this unit.
What was the end result? A map for student discovery/development that encouraged cooperation, provides differentiation for the varying levels of students in my class, evidence of those “light bulb” moments from each student, direct student involvement in the assessment process. But for the most part, it put students directly in the driver seat for their learning and I began to witness increased personal successes and a changed perception within the students.
Student-Created Outcomes may have just changed my teaching practice, again.