After reading How to Teach the Perfect Ofsted Lesson by Jackie Beere, I came up with the idea of the Learning Continuum. The idea is that the learning objective for a lesson should be viewed as a journey. Students can achieve outcomes that meet the objective at different levels.
Aha, I hear you say, isn’t he just talking about differentiated outcomes? Well, yes, but the difference here is that the emphasis is placed on students continuing on through the learning journey over the course of the lesson.
The diagram above is a useful way of explaining what I mean. If your objective is to develop your ability to diversify the AfL techniques you have in your armoury, then the three outcome boxes provide a useful checklist for you to monitor your progress in meeting the objective. The objective is written within an arrow to represent a clear sense of progress and direction: this knowledge is going somewhere; this skill can be developed to different levels of expertise.
The first box could be viewed as a baseline or starting point; as the ALL part of a differentiated outcome; or as the first check-point at which learning is reviewed. I have been using the outcome boxes as review check-points to attempt to show students the progress they have made so far with the expectation being that students should try to reach the third box by the end of the lesson.
The example below is a continuum I used with my mixed ability Year 9 GCSE class. As you can see, I have link the outcomes to GCSE grades so they can relate their success against performance criteria with which they are familiar.
In the third example I have gone further and attempted to link these grades to the language of Bloom’s taxonomy. This helps students to consider the thinking skills required to progress on their learning journeys.
- Explain shows understanding (C grade)
- Explore shows the ability to interpret (B grade)
- Analyse shows the ability to make links and connections (A grade)
- Evaluate show the ability to consider the effectiveness of something