Self Assessment: what's going on with my teaching?

After exploring the research, building my student profiles and hypothesising about my problem, it is time to think critically about my own practice.

So far I believe that my students are not metacognitive readers. They don't consider whether or not they have understood something and they don't go back and reread when they are confused. This also means they aren't using strategies like questioning on their own.

In other words - I'm not teaching them to self regulate, or supporting them to select the strategy they need! When researching I stumbled a lot about how reciprocal reading can be helpful at supporting kids to self regulate as they read (alongside the explicit teaching of self-regulation). This got me wondering how well I was really using reciprocal reading these days.  Fortunately, I have two reciprocal reading videos from my literacy classes from the past couple of years. Thanks Class OnAir!


This was term 1 2019 - my first ever Class OnAir movie. This was quite a hard watch for me, as I feel I made a lot of mistakes and could critique a lot of areas of my practice. But I reviewed this purely focussing on my hypothesis (and not my terrible hair).

 I hadn't used RT for a little while (I usually run it as a term long intervention for my 8-9 year old readers). In hindsight, I wasn't really dedicating enough time into setting RT up properly. I also started using it very casually - as a framework to encourage more student discussion as opposed to focussing on the skills involved. I set it up a bit better for my target group in my intervention, but I continued to place a heavy emphasis on summarising,  unpacking vocabulary and discussing texts.

In this video you can definitely see that we go completely off of RT and it's framework. It totally turned into a discussion about the text and our roles definitely stopped. It was also my first time working with this group who were extremely capable readers - I didn't expect them to understand the book so well and I got way too carried away listening to the interpretations of the year 8 students. I have access to the full video (too long to publish) and there are four year 8 students who really dominated the conversation, while a few year sevens were quiet.

I definitely do not get the students talking about self-regulation or about using strategies to unpack unknown words/ paragraphs/ plot lines. I didn't really talk much about the strategies we did use either, we just sort of used them!

This was also filmed in term one, actually on the last day before the lockdown (this was the last time I read with these students as I now teach literacy to a different class!). The students were very nervous due to Covid; we all had to sit apart and you can see how anxious they are from their body language! However, we are at least following the structure of RT better. I also feel I'm doing a lot better checking in with all of my students and getting them all to think about the text, but that's besides the point for this activity.

While we may be following RT better, I am still dominating the conversation (mostly in this case due to the anxiety of my students, to be fair). I am scaffolding them quite a lot with my own use of questioning, which may act as a model to some. Two students started asking questions that really helped them to make sense of the text, most noticeably when Kauri asked if they were actually in a carriage, which finally allowed us to fully interpret the poem. I did not talk explicitly about the use of questioning, or really do this strategy justice at all.

When it came to clarifying, I pushed the conversation towards discussing vocabulary and phrases. I think this is because of the work I have done with Dr Jannie Van Hees - I've been doing some 'deep diving' with another group where we read a short complex excerpt and really discuss the language use. However, clarifying is a perfect opportunity for students to discuss how much of the text has made sense to them and to highlight chunks that they don't understand.

From viewing both of these videos and reflecting on my practice (both my practice from the last week and looking at some reflections I have recently written), I am certain I am doing little to support my students to self regulate their reading. I am also not dedicating enough time to the strategies that I am teaching that could support this. This is definitely a next step for my direct acts of teaching.


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