“It’s all about the student, stupid”

If a student shows you their book, full of errors at the beginning, but becoming more controlled, sophisticated and with those errors corrected, would you be pleased? What if there were no teacher comments or evidence of marking in front of you? Is that poor? Is successful learning judged by thoughtful intervention or hours of teacher comments?

I am working this through with colleagues at the moment, partly in response to the demands in some schools by SLT for evidence of teacher impact being judged through the weight of marking. Book not marked in the last three pages? Not acceptable. No evidence of “two stars and a wish”? Not acceptable.

This grinds teachers down. It grinds them down in only the way that SLT with little imagination know how. The focus is unfortunately not upon what the student can do and what they have shown they can develop, but how many comments, targets, pointers or recipes for chutney can be found in the teacher’s distinctive purple pen.

More schools need an approach that is much more smart and is built upon interventionist and planned feedback, rather than a tyranny of ticks and targets.

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