The session today wasn’t on SMART marking as I thought. It was on feedback. Related, at least. The pre-reading (handout from The Learning Set – Stepping Forward with Feedback – Learning Unlimited 2004) stated that much feedback is “too little, too late, too vague and too impersonal.” I am very, very aware of what my weakness is in this area. I give plenty of feedback and pride myself on making it personal and specifically related to set targets and prior work. Within class I do my best to give a individual pupils feedback on how they are handling current work. The problem area is my written feedback on pupils’ work as it is sometimes handed back too late.
When is “too late”? The actual time period can vary dramatically. “Too late” in my books is when the pupils have forgotten what they were supposed to have got out of the task. By letting too much time pass between work being handed in, marked and handed back I’m running the risk of undoing a lot of hard work (both the pupils’ and mine). I am not suggesting that teachers’ comments are the solely responsible for pupil progression. Far from it! They are powerful, however, and if I am not utilising them properly my pupils are losing out.
The two main obstacles are time and energy. Could better planning help overcome these? I do tend to experience marking gluts a lot. During these times a black haze of panic sometimes settles over me rendering me mentally paralysed. More time passes, more marking builds up, haze turns into sea harr. Starting now I am going to attempt to stagger marking.
Actual, it will have to start next week as three classes are handing in essays this week! Oh well…