Thursday, 17 October 2013

A Book of FAIL

Ross Morrison McGill’s new book “100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers” contains many brilliant ideas and easy ways to improve lessons. One that has caught on via Twitter and various blogs is F.A.I.L. (First Attempt In Learning). It's not a new idea and I have seen First Attempts Inspire Learning which , sorry Ross, I think I may prefer!  There is also a great TED video on failure, by a teacher, that is also worth watching:

This ties in with some of the ideas we have been working on in my school ACE group; we want our students to become more resilient and in control of their learning.  

I have also been working with Y12 on their first essay plans. There was great fear in the room; fear that I wanted to turn to excitement! Many of the girls I teach are scared to get things wrong, especially the most able. My GCSE Set 1 almost refuse to do activities where there is a risk of getting something wrong... and this is something I want to challenge.

It very much links to the blog post I did on redrafting and improving work recently; it requires a real culture shift in my current school.

So my idea... I have asked various groups of students to back track and find a series of progression, either during Y12 or through the first year of the GCSE course. Some exam questions (GCSE) or essays (AS), that hopefully display that individual child's progression from one place to another.

Ritchie Gale speaks of how we should be displaying the progress in our classrooms in his excellent recent post, yet my challenge is that I teach in 17 different rooms. So I decided to go into print; today I produced my first book of F.A.I.L.! A current Y13 who provided 6 essays which show how she started with a decent C grade but worked her way to very high A grades.

I am now working how best to use my first (hopefully in a series!) F.A.I.L. publication:
  • Lend to certain students to read?
  • Photocopy for the whole class? (and blow the RE budget further!)
  • Make a display in someone else's classroom?
  • How will a student best use it? Just read it?
  • Is it possible to inspire students by reading others progress?
Any ideas gratefully received! 

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