If you have been following the Radical at all this month, you know that I’m currently consumed by the notion that we need to rethink the feedback practices that we have integrated into our classrooms. The simple Dylan Wiliam inspired truths driving all of my thinking are that we have to turn feedback into detective work and that feedback should be more work for the recipient than it is for the donor.
But there’s a flaw in my thinking, y’all: If we are truly going to develop confident, self-directed learners who thrive in situations for which they were not specifically prepared, we have to remind the kids in our classrooms that they should be actively gathering feedback about their progress BEYOND school, too. If feedback becomes “a school thing” in the minds of our students, they will be woefully unprepared to meet the demands of the modern workplace where thinking on the fly, leading in the moment, and moving forward in uncertain circumstances really are essential skills.
So I’m tinkering with a new idea that I’m calling Not Yet/You Bet Lists.
Check it out here:
Like the Unit Overview Sheets that I’ve written extensively about on the Radical (see here, here and here), Not Yet/You Bet Lists are designed to give students opportunities to track the essential content and skills that they are working to master. But because they are simple tools, students – whether they are baseball players, gymnasts, pianists or martial artists – can use Not Yet/You Bet Lists to detail the progress that they are making in areas of personal interest and passion outside of school.
Think about it like this: At the beginning of each new season, parents, coaches and/or tutors can help students to generate lists of important skills worth working on. Those new skills can be listed in the Not Yet column of the Not Yet/You Bet List, serving as a tangible, transparent reminder of just what it is that a student is working towards.
After practices, training sessions, or recitals, students can revisit their Not Yet/You Bet Lists to reflect on the progress that they are making. When a new skill has been mastered, students can move it from the Not Yet to the You Bet column of the handout. Each time an important outcome is moved, students are reminded that they are making progress and that they can learn – important messages for building confident, self-directed learners.
Can you see why all of this matters?
By asking students to think carefully about their own strengths and weaknesses in learning situations outside of school, Not Yet/You Bet Lists can reinforce core feedback practices that you are trying to integrate into your classroom instruction. More importantly, by asking students to think carefully about their own strengths and weaknesses in learning situations outside of school, Not Yet/You Bet Lists can reinforce the core notion that actively monitoring individual progress isn’t just a school skill. It’s a life skill.
So whaddya’ think? Does this have any value?
I haven’t tried it with my own students yet — it’s a new idea for me, too. But I think it just might work!
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