“What did you get in your exam?”
What conversations do you have with your children about their learning? With a number of assessments being returned, it is undoubtedly an excellent time to talk about the progress that has been made in learning. Very soon, reports will be uploaded to Parent Lounge, and even more information will be made available. So, what sort of learning conversation will be helpful?
First, I think it is vital to recognise all the learning that has occurred throughout the year. All girls have made progress. I have yet to hear of any examinations or assessments handed in blank. While we are often quick to ask how we can improve, at this time of year, it is helpful to review how far we have come. Questions like, “What do you know now that you did not know last year?” or “What can you do now that you have not been able to do before?” remind everyone what has been achieved.
This does not mean there is no room for improvement, and Meriden’s The Fidelis Model reminds us that we should all aspire to be “lifelong learners”. This means there is usually something that can be done better next year. This is where the feedback from teachers is critical. The assessment tasks being handed back contain important information about areas of improvement. It is important to note that inferring too much from the raw numbers is difficult. “I want to improve my results by twenty per cent” is a noble goal, but it does not really drive improvement. It is more important to know “I need to revise my work on Trigonometry” or “I need to incorporate my sources more effectively in History”. These specific goals inform meaningful actions that can see students make significant improvements.
Finally, I would like to suggest that conversations regarding the way students approach their learning are particularly important. As much as I enjoy teaching Shogunate Japan, reminding my students to revise this History topic next year is not particularly useful. Instead, their ability to preserve or regularly complete homework is a better predictor of success. Information about these important approaches to learning is on each student’s report, and I encourage you to read them and discuss them with your girls.
I look forward to engaging with you and your girls next year and hope that the Christmas period can be meaningful as we pause to reflect on the fact that Jesus humbled himself and became a baby so that we could be in a relationship with God.