I have spent a great deal of the holidays sitting with Ron Ritchhart’s Creating Cultures of Thinking and I wanted to write reports that reflected the work we have been doing in our school in this area. Within Ron’s book he highlights a need to focus on student learning rather then the work. He makes the following comparison:
- In a work-orientated classroom teachers and students are focussed on work completion and ‘monitor the work’.
- In learning-orientated classroom, teachers and students ‘focus their attention on learning as a priority’. Work serves the learning. Furthermore, in learning orientated classrooms, ‘mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn, to rethink’.
I wanted my reports to reflect a learning-orientated classroom. Hence, I ditched my usually report writing strategy of regurgitating outcomes and centred my feedback around the process of learning and developing.
Additionally, Ritchhardt discusses the expectation of a growth vs. a fixed mindset, The term ‘growth mindset’ has become a buzz phrase in education in the past twelve months, but I question how many individuals have actually changed their teaching to reflect this research. This concept developed from Carol Dweck’s work around failure. It centres around an individuals ‘mindset’ in relation to their talents, ability, intelligence, challenges and setbacks. Both Dweck and Ritchhardt note the impact feedback has on a students mindset. So, I researched the qualities of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset and set out to comment on some of these attributes too.
These are the areas or key words I used to guide my report writing this time.
In relation to mindset :
- Belief and values around learning
- Challenges and risk-taking
- Effort resulting in learning growth
- Response to adversity and failure
- Use of feedback and critique
- Goal setting
- Learning behaviours
- Deeper inquiry
- Exploration of diverse perspectives
- Connecting new ideas to prior knowledge
- Capturing essence
- Active reasoning and explanation
- Distilling the essence of ideas non-verbally
- Organising one understanding of a topic through concept mapping
- Tracking and guiding understanding
- Separating fact and fiction
- Explore the complexity of a dilemma
- Clarifying truth claims and seeking sources
- Exploring tensions of truth
- Able to dissect an idea into parts, purposes and audience
- Asking generating and transforming questions
- Thinking creatively about options
- Creative decision-making
- Originality and innovation
Obviously, this set of reports are written for Drama. However, the lead in statements are generic and could be used for all subjects, Furthermore the content specific statements could be easily adapted for other subjects too. In the content specific areas I was focussing on evidence from the students Individual Project, extended responses/essay writing and in the preliminary course section, an acting practitioner performance task.
I do not believe these report comments are perfect. In fact, I am pretty sure the grammar could do with some work! However, I hope you find something in there to stimulate thought or assist you in your report writing. I will also extend on this resource as I approach reports later in the year. So if you find this useful, watch this space.
(I probably should also note I only teach girls (hence the lack of the word he!) and generally awesome kids!)
Lead in with positive statements that comment on the process of learning.
- %name has demonstrated that she is capable of growth in Drama and is able to apply various learning strategies to assist her in the development of her understanding.
- %name recognises that hard work leads to growth and development, however when faced with challenges she relinquishes her creative ideas after trying one or two strategies.
- %name can identify and apply a variety of learning strategies to complete tasks and achieve goals.
- %name’s results have been consistent throughout the Semester, yet she often doubts her capacity to learn new things and concedes easily when presented with challenges.
- %name exhibits perseverance in her learning behaviours yet often doubts her ability to succeed.
- %name displays a growth mindset as she seeks out challenges and views them as an opportunity for learning and development.
- %name consistently strives to reach her goals in Drama through the application of hard work and effective learning strategies.
- %name consistently demonstrates self-belief and seeks out opportunities to challenge herself and increase her knowledge.
- %name is a capable student yet often doubts her capacity to learn and develop her skills.
- %name values Drama and demonstrates a belief that she is capable of growth and development.
- %name works consistently hard to improve her skills in all areas of the course.
- %name sets herself challenging goals and seeks to achieve them with determination.
- %name is eager to learn, inquisitive and open to feedback.
- %name places high-expectations on herself and strives to meet these expectations independently.
- %name is an independent learner who is able to identify and utilise a range of learning strategies to manage her work.
- %name generally demonstrates a fixed-mindset when approaching tasks. However, she is beginning to embrace challenges and take risks in her work.
- %name demonstrates commitment to personal growth and development by actively participating in all class activities even if they pose new challenges.
- %name demonstrates a growth mindset as she seeks out challenges and places importance on feedback as a tool for personal growth.
- %name demonstrates a desire to learn and grow in Drama through the perseverance and hard work she applies to all tasks.
- %name is actively demonstrating a growth mindset through her perseverance in the face of obstacles and her responsiveness to feedback.
- %name is expanding her skill development by continually taking risks and actively seeking out challenges.
- %name is focussed on her personal growth and development in Drama and is beginning to apply a variety of learning strategies to help her reach her goals.
- %name is an independent and mature learner who leverages her strengths to reach her goals.
- %name continues to develop her skills in Drama as she seeks out feedback and applies effective learning strategies to all tasks.
- %name continues to develop her Drama skills as she makes time to explore new ideas and learning strategies to progress her work.
- %name demonstrates a belief that hard work leads to deeper understanding and often seeks new opportunities for learning and growth.
- %name independently monitors and revises her approach to learning tasks in Drama with minimal effort.
- Her video drama displays a deep understanding of visual storytelling, although she tends to stay within conventional boundaries.
- Her video drama includes elements that are visually engaging, yet she is encouraged to explore different perspectives to expand on her current ideas.
- She is beginning to explore unique ideas within her individual performance and has welcomed feedback and suggestions to move her work forward.
- She is consistently exploring new concepts through her video drama, however she is encouraged to try and extend these ideas beyond conventional boundaries.
- Her individual performance is progressing as she explores some original ideas and approaches to her work. However, %name is encouraged to experiment further with her staging and vocal tonality.
- She carefully evaluates each approach to her individual performance and uses ingenuity when refining her ideas.
- Her individual performance is progressing as she understands the need for innovation. However, %name would benefit from seeking out feedback and critique to further refine her performance.
- Her individual performance displays a commitment to personal growth and as a result is developing into a lively and engaging performance.
- Her costume design captures the essence of the play through a unique and sophisticated directorial concept although this is not always realised in the final rendering.
- Her individual performance shows a tentative attempt to step outside conventional rules, although some ideas are predictable and do not consider the needs and interests of the target audience.
- She is beginning to explore possibilities for the presentation of her individual performance. However, %name is encouraged to use idea-generating techniques and seek out feedback in order to move it further forward.
- Her costume design demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the text and is realised through striking, theatrical renderings.
- Her individual performance pushes conventional boundaries, demonstrates ingenuity and is highly engaging.
- %name creates visually exciting theatre through her acting skills and is beginning to develop her individual performance into a powerful and engaging piece.
- Her critical research project models active reasoning and explanation, although she is encouraged to utilise concept mapping more effectively to organise her research.
Theoretical Content and Essay Writing
- %name understands the complexity of Boal’s approach to acting and is able to dissect ideas into parts, purposes and audience relationship in her essay writing.
- She was unable to capture the essence of Forum Theatre in her half-yearly written report and is encourage to track and guide her understanding of the topic through concept mapping.
- Her extended responses organise her understanding of a topic, however they need to reflect deeper inquiry and evaluation of in-class experiences.
- Her extended responses are beginning to explore the complexities of the topics set for study and effectively connect theoretical content with in-class experiences.
- She is beginning to connect new ideas with in-class experiences in her extended responses but is encouraged to practice her active reasoning and explanation of challenging concepts further.
- Furthermore, she recognises the need for valid reasoning and strong evidence in her written work, although these skills need further refinement and practice.
- %name is also able to organise her understanding of a topic through her extended responses and displays deep inquiry through valid reasoning and strong evidence.
- %name justifies claims when answering essay questions demonstrating deep inquiry and a sophisticated understanding of the topic.
- %name is beginning to explore the complexity of the topics set for study although she is encouraged to organise her ideas further through concept mapping.
- %name is able to capture the essence of a topic in her extended responses by tracking and guiding her understanding structurally.
- She is able to produce factual information but fails to delve into deeper inquiry within her responses.
- She is able to organise her understanding of a topic structurally in her essays but is encouraged to utilise points of strong evidence from textual sources to actively reason.
- Her extended responses are able to distil the essence of ideas and concepts effectively. However, further attention could be given to the development of complex arguments and strong textual evidence.
- %name’s extended responses actively reason in a logical manner. However, she is encouraged to practice essays under exam conditions and develop further strategies to manage her time and stress.
- She is able to reason with strong evidence in her extended responses and is beginning to effectively connect in-class experiences with theoretical content.
Preliminary Course – These comments centred around evidence from an acting practitioner performance task
- Her acting practitioner task demonstrated exemplary performance skills and originality in her creative approach.
- In her acting practitioner task she utilised creative decision making to apply her understanding of Brechtian techniques.
- In her acting practitioner task she evaluated the advantages and disadvantage of different techniques to present material that lead to sophisticated choices and a highly engaging performance.
- Her strength lies in her ability to think critically and analyse creative problems, although she is encouraged to share her thinking with others in order to receive feedback and move her thinking further forward.
- %name’s strength lies in her willingness to take risks and break conventions. However, she needs to show more confidence in her decision-making and organise her creative process to relieve stress in the development of work.
- Her acting practitioner task displayed her tendency to stay within existing frameworks. She is encouraged to use idea-generating techniques, seek ongoing feedback and step outside conventional boundaries in her creative work.
- Her strength lies in her ability to think critically and analyse creative problems. However, %name is encourage not to over analyse each action in performance as it can be disengaging for an audience.
- Her strength lies in her ability to ask questions and explore different perspectives to elaborate on and improve her performance work.
- Her ability to see out feedback and ask generative questions have assisted her performance work this term.
- She has demonstrated ingenuity and imagination in her approach to her acting practitioner task this term leading to a highly theatrical and engaging performance.
- She looks for and acts on new ideas and opportunities for learning.
- However, %name needs to find more confidence in her creative decisions and step outside of conventional boundaries.
- %name should be commended for her commitment to her studies and ongoing drive to continuously develop her skills.
- %name values learning and demonstrates an appreciation for creative risk-taking.
- She is responsive to feedback and approaches all task in an evaluative and analytic manner.
- She utilised effective idea-generating strategies in her acting practitioner task and pushed herself outside her comfort zone.
- Overall, %name should be commended for her positive attitude and her desire to learn.