The following post is inspired by my good friend, Colin Jagoe.

I love going to the BIT conferences as I find that I am reinvigorated by all the amazing learning that is happening across the province. What I appreciate the most, however, is the ability to connect with people face-to-face that I speak to usually online.

Colin is one of those people. If you don’t know him he’s one of the most energetic and exciting teachers here in Ontario. Last year he and I put our science and English classes together to facilitate a project. Through that experience, I found a kindred and reflective soul.

At the BIT conference this year, Colin and I were reflecting on assessment practices and feedback delivery to our students. Colin was able to clearly articulate how I run feedback in my room in a way that I hadn’t considered. He coined the term, “Mutual Reflection” and it couldn’t be a more perfect way to describe what my students and I engage in every day.

I’m really trying to focus on the students as owning their learning and even though assessment is typically seen as a “teacher job”, to me, it is far more effective and promotes deeper learning if the student is involved in the conversation. With that idea at the heart of my pedagogy, my students and I have conversations – daily conversations – about what’s happening and how the learning is progressing.

We are constantly hearing that this generation is lazy and incapable of managing themselves, but I feel that we’re doing that to the students. We are spoon feeding them and giving them the answers as well as telling them when they’ve “messed up” instead of letting them discover that for themselves. I’m not saying that I don’t grade and I don’t give feedback, however, it’s far more powerful if it’s a conversation where they have equal stake in what’s being said. I want my students to have a voice. I want them to own their learning. But that means I have to give them a voice at the table.

So thank you to Colin for listening to and eloquently expressing what you see happening in my room. It’s caused even further reflection for me and I appreciate thinking deeper.


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