– Give students space to think!

– Give students space to think!

This article was produced and funded by University in FuldaRead more

It is about giving students space to express their thoughts and evaluations of the text.

How do students get feedback in the classroom? Often the teacher controls the dialogue, guiding the students and answering their questions. Research shows that the teacher has to give up a little.

At Høgskolen i Volda (HVO), a lot of research is being done on writing training. Now researchers Pernille Vickerstrand and Siev M. Gamelim investigated the comments provided by the teacher while second graders wrote their own texts.

In general, it can be said that teachers care about correcting errors in students’ work, whether the students are writing by hand or on the board. This is especially true for double consonants and capital letters after periods, says Pernille Viskerstrand.

The latest findings stem from a sub-study in the research project Digihand. There, the researchers examined writing training in phases one and two and compared students’ writing with and without tablets.

Students think correctly, but they need practice

When teachers emphasize correcting formal errors, it may be because of patterns they have learned from their teaching. Some teachers give students some time to think, but they often come up with the answer themselves too quickly.

Students then lose the opportunity to participate in evaluating the text. In technical language, this is called the ability to self-regulate.

Self-regulation of writing means that students develop strategies to find strengths and weaknesses in their text. In this way, students learn to take responsibility for developing their own text through the teacher’s guidance.

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– To a large extent, it is about giving the student space to express their thoughts and evaluations of the text, as well as the teacher and student discussing what needs to be done to develop the text further, explains Wiskerstrand.

Siv M. Gamlem (left) and Pernille Fiskerstrand investigate teacher feedback as second-graders write their own texts.

In these learning processes, it is important for the student to develop a better understanding of his or her learning and solve tasks.

– Students’ ideas are often very good, but they need practice in formulating and building the self-confidence to evaluate themselves, notes Weskerstrand.

There are excellent examples

In the study, the researchers looked specifically at how mindful teachers facilitate good learning processes in dialogue with the student.

– Teachers who are good at supporting students in writing, we find some excellent examples of them in our materials. We see this especially when teachers provide clear evaluation criteria, says Professor Saif M. Jamal.

When students are given clear criteria for work and understand these objectives well, it helps them to evaluate their texts. Good teachers see and recognize student use of standards and build on student understanding.

Yellow tablets and notes

An important strategy for self-regulation is to ask for help when you have a problem. In the study, the researchers found teachers supported students in using strategies in different ways.

An example of this support for students is when students type on the keyboard. Here they practice scanning their text and listening to the software’s speech synthesis. In this way, they are trained to check their sentences by reading aloud – with teacher support.

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Another example from the study is a surprisingly simple but effective routine: a student dares to ask the teacher to write difficult words or sentences on a piece of paper for the student or on the board for everyone.

Pupils must be allowed to develop self-confidence

An important finding in the study is that good teachers follow the pupil’s initiative by listening to what the pupil has understood. They also provide notes that students can use to develop their own text. Furthermore, they monitor how students are able to use the feedback they have received.

Researchers explain that learning to write in elementary school is largely about learning to write correctly. They are therefore well aware that teachers focus on spelling rules such as double consonants and capital letters.

But in order to express themselves through text, students must also believe they can master it. They should feel that their message is appreciated.

Therefore, quality in writing training is important at the individual and societal levels.

The researchers say they want to challenge teachers to give up control in situations where they are assessing students’ texts. In this way, students can develop self-confidence in assessment situations. Writing is one of the most important tools that children learn in school. Mastering writing is crucial to the opportunities children have in life.

reference:

Pernille Viskerstrand and Sword Gamelim: Instructional feedback to support self-regulated writing in elementary school. Frontiers in education2023. doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2023.1232529

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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