How listening transforms my feedback
I keep trying to write blog posts to help articulate for myself a kind of teaching I aim for. I don’t have it down quite yet (not even close), but someday I hope to. For now, I hope by articulating what I do and why, I’ll get better at it. So here goes another attempt:
I work hard at listening and trying to understand my students. I try my best to remember and document what the ideas were, who had those ideas, and when and where those ideas came up. Doing so, allows me to give feedback like this on student blogs:
I’m noticing that you have a bunch of ideas to begin explaining what you saw: One idea seems to be that the bright spot in the center of the circle (on the ground) is the direct light from the bulb, and the dimmer areas are the reflected light off the mirror. This makes sense with your idea from class two Wednesday’s ago that reflected light should be dimmer than direct light. To me, this sounds like a more specific theory about what the mirror is doing than we’ve heard before. Maybe in your notebook you could draw a sketch of how you think this works?
It makes me wonder what Jane Doe would think, because she wrote in her paper that she didn’t think that reflected light would always dimmer, especially off a mirror. Jane, you around to weigh in?
Think about how that feedback would be different I didn’t remember past ideas and I didn’t remember who had what ideas and couldn’t pinpoint when those ideas surfaced.
- I wouldn’t be able to help draw connections between ideas (ideas that occurred over 10 days)
- I wouldn’t be able to pit two different ideas against each other
- I wouldn’t be able to give appropriate authorship and be reliable source of cited information (ideas that came from different persons in different venues)
- I wouldn’t be able to invite a critic and dissenter to the conversation.
- I wouldn’t be able to comment about how this idea is progress from previous attempt to explain