Monday, November 18, 2019

Bursts and bubbles: Speaking frame

The catalytic aspect of student learning my inquiry focused on this year was getting my
students to talk about their work and present it to each other and their client verbally.
I identified this as my focus when I noticed that a lot of my senior students lacked
any confidence in their ability to do the work when they come to DVC.
To build a rich picture of my students’ learning I used a series of recordings where
I tracked the progress of how my student's verbal literacy was changing or not.
The main patterns of student learning I identified in the profiling phase were them not
wanting to try the work in case they failed. Students who had done DVC the previous
year could cope better but those who hadn't have a lot of confidence issues.
My profiling of my own teaching showed that I had strengths in making examples,
demonstrating the skills and breaking down what they have to do into manageable pieces.
But that my students would likely make more progress if I developed in how how to use
literacy skills in a way that gave the students confidence to talk about their work.
The changes I made in my teaching were using lots of group activities that were not related
to DVC at all. They were about loosening up and being comfortable with each other. We did
voice exercises and speaking practice.
The literature/expertise that helped me decide what changes to make was talking to
teachers in the English department who get their students to talk and do speeches as part
of their course. I also spoke to the music department about voice and projection strategies.
Readings I have done include, Mindset by Carol Dweck, The Growth Mindset Playbook by
Annie Brock and Heather Hundley and Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by
Zaretta Hammond amongst others.
The easiest and hardest things for me to change were: doing silly group activities that were
not related to DVC was easy for me as we do a lot of talking about non subject related topics
as we are doing our project work normally so this was just an extension of this. Changing how
I do things is easy for me as I am always looking at how to improve and change things up.
I am not so stuck in my ways yet to not appreciate change. Helping the students verbal
literacy was a difficult point for me and I picked the brains of the English teachers A LOT.
Working on the students confidence was hard. I found it so frustrating that I could not get
them into a better head space about their work and effort.
Some changes I made along the way were changing between doing individual talking about
their work to a camera, talking to the group and talking to their client in one to one, group
situations and whole group presentations. I did not start out with a focus on confidence and
mindset but it came out as part of the problem so evolved naturally.
Overall I would rate the changes in student learning as slow and in some cases non at all.
The evidence for my rating is that some of the students did not take what we were trying to
do seriously and were also affected by poor attendance. This then affected what strategies
they were involved in over the year as they missed the morning sessions. We practiced our
presentations and made notes and they were still forgetting structure and content and depth
when their client was in front of them. The presentations were still quite shallow.
On the other hand, one of the students wrote the longest final evaluation of his design work
that I have seen.

The most important learning I made about working on confidence, mindset and verbal literacy
was that there is no set timeline for improvement. It is an ongoing thing that needs a more
extended time and patience.
The most important learning I made about inquiry was the students progress in what I am
looking into does not work to my time scale. I need to continue this for a much longer period
so I can see if what I was trying will do any good over a longer period of time so the students
have a chance to get used to it.
Some learnings that would be relevant to other teachers are don't be afraid for an inquiry to take
an unexpected turn into a direction that you know nothing about and have to up-skill and research.

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