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Protocol for Using Student Work to Improve Teaching and Learning

Format(s): EL Document

Topic(s): Spark Discussion

Audience: Educators

Use this suggested protocol in tandem with work in the project or writing collections to draw out thoughtful observation and provocative conversation with a group. Click on "Download Resource" to download the document.


Protocol for Using Student Work to Improve Teaching and Learning

Developed by Steve Seidel, co-director of the Illuminating Standards Project, Harvard Graduate School of Education

The participants in this discussion look at the student work together. One person agrees to facilitate the discussion and, after establishing how much time the group has for the session, leads the group through the following questions*:

STRIKING AND INSPIRING: What is striking about the student work we’ve just looked at? And what, if anything, is inspiring?

THE VISIBILITY OF LEARNING: Can you see learning in what we read? What do we take as evidence of learning in this work? What is being learned?

THE PROCESS OF LEARNING: We are looking at products of a learning experience. To what degree can we ‘see’ the process of learning in these products? Can we discern the sequence of the student’s work—what they did first and next and next after that?

PUZZLES AND CONTROVERSIES: What confuses you about this student work? What questions does it raise? Does it generate differences of opinion or perspective within the group? Do those differences represent important and legitimate controversies about any aspects of curriculum and instruction?

BRINGING IT HOME: Would we want to do anything similar in our own setting? If so, how could we go about developing our own version of this kind of student work? What are concrete steps we could take toward exploring these ideas in practice?

NEXT STEPS: What questions do we take with us today? How will we pursue them? What do we want to reflect on further?

*Consider giving longer pieces or sets of materials to participants in advance, or select a limited set of pages to focus on.

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