I really enjoyed this short article from Jonathon Simons (@PXeducation) about the London-centric nature that educational rhetoric and policy can take on with the extremely apt analogy of ‘The Most Visited School’ by civil servants and ministers, (one that is 100m from Westminster!). This was somewhat ridiculously promoted by the comments coming out of the Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb’s office this week about marking, feedback and workloads;
with one comment standing out like grade on a formative feedback sheet (!) ‘that marking in different-coloured pens, and giving feedback in exercise books, had never been a government or an Ofsted requirement’
No it hasn’t ever been a government or Ofsted mandate, it was something we as educated professionals realised may have an impact on the learning skills of our pupils, with different variations developed for the rich and diverse demographics that exist in our schools. A good, no, a competent school leader realises that workload stresses on their staff and amends polices and projects accordingly and does not expect them to mark every and anything, the impact is completely lost!
Creation of a learning dialogue is one way we can ensure that pupils develop as learners and into the culturally sound and proficient individuals we all crave for them. A grade, a small mark, a meaningless token that we have marked their learning has no meaning or substance without a creation of dialogue. In lessons, we want pupils to reflect, to be resourceful with comments made, and the different coloured pens only highlight these areas that the skills may have been applied.
The post underneath discusses these issues and how to overcome them, without reverting to comments like ‘work should be marked with a simple, simple!!!!, grade.