Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cycle 2 Interviews continued...

Last week I interviewed two other sets of kids about their reactions to our work in cycle two with the multiple redo policy. As I previously blogged about, I already interviewed a pair of girls earlier in the week. One bit of clarification, all the students I have interviewed I have had for the entire school year. I also am sharing these students with a student teacher who is implementing this policy as well and has done so since the beginning of the semester when he took over this class.

I am going to split up the two groups’ responses into two separate blog posts for the sake of consistency as well as readability. I will have another blog follow this one where there was a pair of two boys. This blog is about an interview conducted with three boys who have been in my class all year long.

1. Has the ability to redo assignments multiple times been beneficial to you?
One of the students indicated that it always has been beneficial. He explained that it seems on assignment that the initial time he completes an assignment he does something incorrectly on the assignment. But with the redo policy, he is about to redo the work and receive a better grade. Another student commented that when he forgets to do the work, or it is last minute, and “bombs” the assignment, he still has time and the ability to show his best work. The final student felt that it has always been beneficial. There are times when he has not always done his best, or had other things on his mind, and it helps knowing he can redo his work.

2. Has the ability to redo assignments had a positive change to your thinking about learning and being a successful learner?
The first student commented that most of the time it has a positive change to his thinking. When an assignment is returned to him with corrections, he is able to redo it, and receive a better grade. He also continued that he knew if he was stuck on an assignment, he could finish it, turn it in, and the teacher would help him learn how to do it correctly. The next student commented that he would turn in something on time, or he can take the time to turn in his best work. Getting the feedback helped him as a learner. The final student indicated that he needed feedback to be a better learner. The feedback helped him focus on his thinking rather than on the assignment.

3. On average, do you do an assignment correctly the first time the assignment is assigned?

The first student said that he does not do some of the assignment correctly the first time. Things like grammar errors or unsure of the assignment are part of the problem. Then the redo helps showing him what he needs to fix. The second student agreed with the first. When he turns in his work, it might not be the best work, but the feedback helps tell him the best parts of the work and what should “shine.” The final student reflected that at the beginning of the year when we were studying Chris McCandless and Into the Wild, he didn’t do the work right, but then focused on getting into “the groove” and although there are still mistakes, he has a better format to follow learning from it.

6. Thinking about the feedback you receive on assignments, did it help you succeed as a learner?

The first student said that the feedback always helped. Some teachers just give back an assignment and it is not very good. But in this class, the teacher shows us what isn’t right and we can fix it. It is more than just knowing what is wrong. The second student agreed in said that teachers give you a bad grade in other classes and you just say “ok”, but in English we can redo and we become more confident because of that. The final student commented that it is nice to know you did it right, and how good you did in your writing. It is also good to know what to do better.

Do you take the multiple redo policy for granted?
The first student replied with “not really” on taking the redo policy for granted. He said he tries to do all assignments because he knows next year he will not have the same opportunity. The second student indicated that the policy gave him confidence; even if he procrastinates, he can redo it. He doesn’t take it for granted. The final student talked about the fact there are not redos in other classes. The work is harder in this class and so it is good to have redos.

Knowing that you have multiple opportunities to redo your work, has your effort declined on those assignments?

The first student commented that sometimes his effort declined. Instead of spending the time being stuck on an assignment, he knew he had the redo and would wait to get feedback to change his assignment so that it was better. The second student commented that it was annoying to redo work. You put forth the effort so that you would not have to redo. It teaches you to do your work. The final student said it depends on what the assignment was. If it was a PLN (personal learning network entry) or a paper, the bigger projects mattered where the smaller ones were just assignments.

Throughout the semester, do you try to perform harder at first so not to have to redo it?
The first student said yes at the beginning of the semester. Then at the end of the first six weeks, all the redos are due. He had 4-5 redos and in one work he realized that it was hard to redo all of those. So, he tried hard so not to have as many redos. The second student commented again that it does get annoying redoing your work, so it is better to try hard all the time. The final student indicated that knowing you can redo the work makes he try harder because you would rather be doing other things than redoing your work.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the greatest improvement, how have you improved as a student as a result of the multiple redo policy?
The first student said he ranked himself on a scale of 9-10 because first semester he learned the structure of the paragraph. The teacher would explain it in class, and he was not doing it correctly for homework. So instead of doing it wrong all the time, he would revise with the explanations and feedback. The second student also commented that he would rate himself as a 9-10. If you aren’t able to redo, you do not learn anything. If he redo it, it teaches you the material. The final student commented about it being a “learning experience”. It teaches you to try harder because of the feedback. Since he knew what he did wrong, he could always try harder. He rated himself an 8-9.

14. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being greatest improvement, how would you rank the redo policy vs. a non-redo policy in terms of it actually improving writing?
The first student commented that he would rank himself a 10 since all English is writing. This takes more thinking than with other subjects. With the redos, the first time, he does not always use the best words, or structure, but with the redos, he learns from his mistakes. The second student said he felt the same way as the first student. The final student said that it all connects with feedback. If you did get an assignment back, but you didn’t get a second chance, you don’t learn anything.

The all agreed at the end of the interview that the multiple revision policy should be in place for all English classes. I told them I would work on that.

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