Day 75 – Mastery v Tests

Tests are an accepted way of gauging achievement at a given point. However, at times teaching can be overly focused on this event. I’m not suggesting that colleagues teach to the tests but they are more than mindful of the consequences of not providing the correct level of exposure to the prescribed learning outcomes. But I think it goes further, I believe our education system is weakened if the tested years (Y2,Y6, GCSE etc)  are seen as the most important. Focus can be unbalanced which reduces the impact of teaching or the ability for the teacher to feel that they have the time to really explore and remain creative to achieve the goals. My fear is that the curriculum becomes constricted and narrows.

This week at school, being off formal curriculum LO’s and based on the usual plans have not been a barrier to learning. In fact it has released time to focus on perfecting a skill, rehearsing and editing – in short – mastery of a skill. Today was a case in point. I wanted the students to feel that they could build on their previous knowledge & digital literacy.

What have I used I the classroom today? 

Showbie to gather resources for the challenge based learning task and Classroom app to release additional  resources such as iBooks, podcasts and websites as necessary to the individual needs of the pupil. The focus was on developing a challenge based approach setting a task that needed the students to practise, experiment and for the students to have a positive mindset.

I wanted to layer the skills as i had planned to follow this up with a Keynote masterclass using animation. The task was simple, to animate a dot. The students learnt to effectively use the tools to give an inanimate object some personality…they exceeded my expectations but more importantly surprised themselves with what was possible. Having the time to spend time building the foundation skills will pay dividends in the end as the students can rely on these basic skills and grow with future learning.

Online Safety – Quik it’s so important that the students have the opportunity to recall in their own words and express this understanding in different formats which truly reflects their views and can be a measure of just how they view the world. Whether their views are relevant, responsible and effective to keep them safe online. This was presented as a short animated storyboard…judge for yourself if the students were successful. Check out an example of a video that was shared on Trilby Tv to inform the rest of the school.

This is such a worthy step as the community as an audience is exactly who this knowledge affects and  is valued by. So as far as I am concerned a curriculum based on the premise that mastery of base skills, wrapped in challenge based tasks is a learning environment that promotes achievement, self value and beneficial attitudes to learning including perseverance, independence and self reliance.

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