If you would like to ask James a question about the theory or practice of feedback, challenge, P4C, Visible Learning, Growth Mindset, leadership or progress then please complete the form opposite.
Answers to the most popular questions will be shared below.
What does ‘Challenging Learning’ mean?
I chose the name Challenging Learning partly because of the double meaning: challenging the way in which learning takes place and at the same time, making learning more challenging. Many people say that parents these days wrap their children in cotton wool, smoothing the way to ensure their little darlings don’t encounter difficulties. In educational terms this is problematic because it is only when children and young people engage in challenging tasks and come across problems that they have the opportunity to develop important life skills such as problem solving, higher order thinking and collaborative skills, as well as personal attributes such as resilience, determination and self efficacy. So, as a company we look at ways to challenge the way learning takes place – at school, pre-school and at home. We draw on the most up-to-date research about challenge, feedback, thinking skills, dialogue, Philosophy for Children, Visible Learning, and Dweck Mindsets to identify the best strategies for making learning more challenging, engaging, motivating and successful.
Why do you not like the term ‘feed-forward’?
The problem with the term ‘feed-forward’ is that it suggests feedback does not include looking forward but it does and it should. Indeed, feedback has to look forward as well back if it is to be the significant influence on learning that research tells us it can be.
Having said that, Deirdre Burke (2009) discovered that many students ‘interpret the term ‘feedback’ literally and use it only to look back on work they have completed, and are not aware or able to use teacher comments to ‘feed-forward’ and contribute to their on-going development.’ So this makes it even more important to emphasise to your students that feedback needs to answer all three questions:
1) What am I trying to achieve?
2) How much progress have I made so far?
3) What are my next steps?
What is your advice for making sure feedback works?
My advice would include:
You write a lot about the ASK Model. What are the Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge that you aim to develop with students?
I would include the following personal habits, abilities and attitudes:
And these social habits and dispositions:
What makes Philosophy for Children (P4C) so special?
Philosophy for Children (P4C) improves pedagogy for the lasting benefit of all participants. P4C builds higher order thinking, questioning, speaking and listening skills. It creates respect for others, promotes engagement with learning and enhances educational development. I have used P4C with students aged 3 to 18, as well as with adults, and the effects are always positive and long-lasting. To find out more, I recommend you visit www.p4c.com and www.sapere.org.uk
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