Students helping each other

Establishing formative feedback between students to get them to help each other and identify strengths and give guidance at eye level.

Teaching senior classes, especially economy, can be quite hard, Mr. Hornung told. They really love to argue about their work and always find a reason why something, which was not delivered as good as expected, was not entirely the fault of their own.

He tried discussing work results in classroom, intensive grading with long comments on how to improve, which both failed to substantially improved his students’ results. He also found 1-on-1 talks with everyone totally unmanageable in the sparse time allotted for his course.

Facing this obstacle, he tried to get the students to criticize each other in a constructive and formative manner. As this can take up a lot of time in the classroom and all kinds of personal affairs tend to get into the way, he used a NEXT-TELL tool.

For this, he is using the OLM (Open Learner Model), which allows students and teachers to establish to the point formative feedback. Also, it informs them about the state of their learning.

After giving them a task well established in his class (to make a mind map, this time for supply-side economics), he let them upload their work with the simple procedure provided by the tool.

First, they provided a self-assessment of the quality of their own work. They then took a look at each other’s products and get an idea about what the others delivered. After flipping through the other’s mind maps, they then rated them in comparison.

Following and most importantly, they wrote short comments on the strengths of the results of the co-students and gave them hints about what they themselves did not understand or what could have been done better.

Finally, Mr. Hornung looked at the comments and ratings and added his own remarks and ratings for the mind maps.

Right now, he plans to compare two courses with this tool. At one course, giving feedback via the tool is mandatory to get your own work graded. At the other, feedback is optional. In this way, he can test different styles of teaching and preserve the results for the future.

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