Friday 13 July 2012

What Went Well; Even Better If

Ah, the old WWW and EBI. Tools of formative assessment. Praise what was good about the piece of work, and then tell the student how they can improve on the work. Personally, I like to add on TBSDDIA - That Bit Sucked, Don't Do It Again...

It's a chance for me to regroup and gather my thoughts for the next academic year (though I have about ten months of sleep to catch up on, plus a load of Jeremy Kyle to watch). So here's some formative self-assessment of my performance over the 2011-2012 academic year.

What Went Well
I am more confident and knowledgeable with the A-level subject matter in particular. I have made a stimulating environment in my new lab that is conducive to learning. I have raised the aspirations of many of my students, helping them to investigate university courses and careers that they hadn't considered. One of my BTEC girls has got into Liverpool to study Pharmacology. Again, I have students that will turn up to my class when they won't to other lecturers' classes, because they believe it is worth their while. I had the best feedback in the department in terms of the quality of my assessment. I organised a kick-ass National Science and Engineering Week. I got four students to consider Oxbridge, and to go to Caius College for an open day last week.

I tried a tactic of bringing in little bits of evolutionary theory to all the topics we discussed in A-level classes, so that addressing evolution and natural selection at the end of AS didn't come as a surprise, and it worked well - it was the first year I'd had no objections to the topic. I started using social networking for the students, with Twitter and Audioboo, and it was appreciated. The student blogs are looking really good.

Even Better If
I still don't think I teach some topics well at all. I still struggle with the immune system and windows of development in the brain, and my students deserve better, so I should be reading up more in detail on these subjects. I think the coursework for A2 will be better if we revert to fieldwork rather than labwork. I dropped the ball on the Level 2 forensics unit, and must put the same amount of effort into this class as I do into the A-level and Level 3 course - I promised them a trip to the Crown Court and then failed to deliver on this promise. Also, the crime scene needs more blood. I need to improve my understanding of SOLO taxonomy, and roll it out to more classes - using more techniques than just hexagons.

I should be encouraging more of a collaborative effort in teaching where there are two teachers teaching the same unit to different groups. It can get isolating otherwise. I should also be getting more involved with the teachers on Twitter, especially those teaching OCR A-level, or HND Applied Biology, as these will be new courses for me this year.

That Bit Sucked, Don't Do It Again
Laying into one of my more feck-deficient BTEC students, starting with "Are you taking the piss?" and going downhill from there. In front of his classmates. That was the last one of my lessons that he bothered to turn up to. I think there's a causal link there...

1 comment:

  1. MischievousBastard14 July 2012 at 15:26

    WWW: Since finishing your course, I now pay more attention to the quality of the soil in my garden, not just bunging on some random shite marked "plant food" and watering it. My rhubarb's bushier and my tomatoes have more flowers for the time of year than they've ever had in previous years. Drainage has been improved by the burying of rocks and much-drilled logs. My 25 month old Rosemary bushes, having been given a birthday present of bonemeal, have since grown two inches taller in the past month.

    Don't get me started on the brambles! They got a bit of the bonemeal and went berserk! I'm waiting for Ames(from the bar)'s apples to ripen and I'm going round hers with some brambles, a bucket, a sledgehammer and a 70L fermenter...

    A little biological education can lead to some awesome arable gardening :D


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