Thursday, January 13, 2011

The "Think Tank" Blog by Mr. Binjour

The "Next Blog" link on the Blogger top strip is an interesting and wonderful door into the world of blogging - you never know what you will find. I sometimes click on the link for the hell of it to see what other people are blogging about, and maybe get some ideas for my own blog.

Graphic by Eugene
(with a little help from
 Google images).
Today I found The Think Tank blog by Mr. Binjour from Dorchester in Massachusetts. His posts are few, but I found the post on Reflections on 1st Term Exhibitions Projects very interesting. In this post he asks his students "Time to reflect! Were you graded fairly today? Would you have given yourself a different grade in one or more categories?". This is a great idea - it gives students an opportunity to give their own honest thoughts and feedback to the teacher on the grades they received, and it is also an opportunity for the teacher to collate feedback from the class.

17 comments are posted in response to this post - presumably all by Mr Binjour's students. They are mostly positive, with students agreeing that they had been graded fairly, with many students feeling that the grade reflected the amount of work put into the class project. There is also the fact that the students can compare their work with the grading rubric provided. You can see in the comments that it is possible to remain anonymous, though only 1/17 chose to do so.

Lessons from this to us educators? First, provide a grading rubric that students can compare their work to - we (teachers/lecturers) are not always open and up-front about this. Secondly, provide a mechanism for students to comment on their grade. In our College (and I'm sure in most others), lecturers will give feedback to the class on overall performance, and will then ask that if any students who wants individual feedback to catch them after class or call to their office - this can be a bit intimidating (especially to younger students). A blog may not be the best mechanism (though according to Will Richardson, blogs are now in widespread use by teachers), but it does provide a free and easy way to set up an outlet for feedback. Today's students may be more prepared to make a comment on-line rather call to an office.

For any students reading this blog (and I know that some do!) - I'd be interested in your views. You can comment anonymously if you wish - all comments will be published unedited.

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