My interest in the idea of sharing pedagogical purposes comes directly with the contact I have had with the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning at Monash University in Australia. Now each of these teachers were very active in establishing learning agendas with their classes. The impact they were having was inspiring. Each classroom tool can have a purpose beyond delivering content, and this needs to be shared.
I suppose the purpose of this website is collate, crystalise and open dialogues about how to increase this within classrooms. As the quote from Carl Bereiter illustrates this classroom methodology can empower our students.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

By Josie and Emily.

I asked two students if they coudl summarise what they thought of Critiquing. Here are their thoughts undiluted and without alteration. 

The Importance of critiquing-

We think critiquing is good and important because it helps to...

Complete all of the criteria and check the other person has too. This is important as to achieve the full potential of a write up,drawing,etc. You need to ensure that all of the points or features are focused on, in detail. For example,check if people include both sides of an argument? Or in a drawing scenario, have the minor details still been focused in on?

Reading other people's work and using it as inspiration for your own. Not necessarily copying,but enhancing your own work. For example,if the other person has included a particularly effective phrase,or point about the argument,include it in yours to improve it! This helps you to share thoughts about what should be included, and generally improve your work!

Information around you,you can collect more information through other people's work,e.g the community scroll of information as a reliable source that you can trust. A source of information like the scroll is really useful. For example, if you don't have time to research but want to quickly find out about,say,solar energy, look at the community scroll (class display) for a variety of important diagrams,facts and figures. This helps to condense information,and use the big facts, to save time and share facts.

Talk and discussing ideas,rather than sitting alone writing an essay,makes learning more enjoyable,therefore putting in a motive to get the piece of work complete. It makes it good to compare different opinions and thoughts. For example, if you do task A and write an essay about it,and your partner does task B and writes an essay about it,while critiquing their work,you can learn about the actual task B and they learn about task A,taking in twice as much information.

Improve your work in general. If you critique a few times,and compare the first and second,there is a drastic difference. It's almost like putting your work through a focus group test,seeing if one person understands and learns from it,before publishing it for the teacher to read/mark. This makes you achieve your best ability,as although your partner points out improvements,you still do the work and make it make sense.

Question your work and improve it,through another's eyes. In a real life example,Josie thought her write up about fossil fuels was the best to her ability, however,when Emily pointed out improvements from a first-eye source,it made Josie realise how much more she could've done in the first place. Therefore,if we get used to critiquing others work,when we are older and in a job,we can almost critique our own work,independently.

Understand the importance of teamwork,and collaboration, community thinking and sharing ideas. This helps build teamwork,valuing critiquing people's work as important as completing your own.

Ideas shared to get a balanced view,rather than simply one opinion,to come to a more balanced conclusion. For example, if you already,before beginning to learn about a topic, have strong views on it,it may be hard to write a evenly balanced and unbiased essay,however if you read somebody else's essay it may open your eyes to a new arguement.

Not just a teacher's opinion,more varied opinions to improve your work for all audiences. The teacher is working off a grid from the curriculum,the peer is working from their own sense and probably no knowledge on the subject,therefore making a good audience.

Guide you to get a peer's opinion on your work. There are always improvements to be found,in learning and life, nothing is perfect,so there are always ways you can critique work KIND (critique the WORK,not the people, don't use "you" or "shouldn't,couldn't,wouldn't, say what they CAN do instead of what they CAN'T), SPECIFIC(say exactly where,highlighting or colour coding makes it easier to point out places) and HELPFUL(make them easy to improve,for example,don't say "your spelling was bad" or even "the spelling in this piece of work could be improved". It is more helpful to say "There could be improvements in spelling these words; atmosphere, solar and fossil")

Overall,we believe,as students,critiquing is an important lesson in learning,and in general life. It is a useful skill to incorporate in lessons, in order to prepare future "self critiquing" as well