I spoke briefly my schools Heads of Subject meeting briefly this week to showcase how we are now trying to give feedback in the music department. Thought I’d share what we are doing here as well.
There is a huge sense of pressure on teachers at the moment to provide meaningful feedback to our students that promotes progress. There is nothing wrong with that. I read many horror stories on twitter weekly where teachers are marking books with different coloured pens and marking goes on through the night. Even worse when music teachers are creating reams of written tasks to fulfil this request and evidence verbal feedback. This prompted OFSTED to release the document below last week to reiterate what they do and do not want.
Hopefully that may spell out the end for those dreaded ‘verbal feedback given’ stamps….
In my school we do ‘Read And Respond’ when we show evidence that students have responded to our feedback within their books. Thankfully the colour of my pen is not stipulated. In my music classroom I am giving feedback constantly, I feel like I spend entire days doing nothing else. However I no natural evidence of this, but do not wish to create a paper heavy task purely to prove what I am doing. I have done too much of this in the past already: stickers, trackers, review sheets you name it. These work well for the end of projects, but during an ongoing project they are clumsy and can interrupt music making. Feedback must remain natural, organic and most importantly MUSICAL.
Our new method involves using Edmodo. Into this application we upload video and audio recordings of work at two week intervals into the students’ own profile and shared area. We can then keep a list of video and audio evidence over time of the progression of a piece of work from the stumbling opening week to the final polished performance. Each time there is a recording we provide clear feedback against a criteria and ask the students to do the same for homework. It is working easily and well and already I have a great archive of the terms work for all my students: video evidence of their progress, feedback from me then further video evidence of responding to the feedback. The best bit is that I do not feel like I am doing a job to tick a box and this simply formalising what I am doing already.
It is early days, but this feels like a lasting step forward particularly in my thinking. One method of giving feedback cannot work for every classroom. I still have many things to consider, but initially this is working in mine.