Moving from prestructural…

This term I embarked on my teaching mission to empower students through using SOLO taxonomy. In my experience SOLO allows students to look at the quality of their understanding of a topic or context or to allow for mastery of required skills. At my previous school, this taxonomy was the lynchpin of my teaching practice ( see my earlier posts here).

However, I’m now at a new school so it is time for me to refine what I’ve been doing in the past I see what works and inducting our students at HPSS into this way of thinking about their learning. There are so many amazing teachers at Hobsonville Point Secondary School who are working together in so many ways to empower our students’ learning – helping them to become autonomous, life long learners. I’m thrilled that SOLO is a tool which is seen as being valuable I doing so. Also, there are many teachers here with experience in using SOLO in the classroom that I am looking forward to working with!

In the first week of term, I ran students through a workshop which was a reminder about SOLO. This was not the most successful of workshops I have ever run but students seemed to take away the idea of working for a better quality of understanding (relational and extended abstract) rather than doing more of something (multi-structural) and that they could self assess using a SOLO rubric.

When working with students in my modules last week, I tried two different approaches to using SOLO to empower learners.
1. In my drama module: students performed a piece of drama and measured their understanding of dramatic space (peer and teacher feedback on this one) then refined their scenes based on that feedback and performs them a second time. Their reflection activity was to consider how they shifted in their understanding of the concept based on the feedback they received.
2. In my Classics module, students self-assessed at the beginning of the lesson to gauge their understanding (of the worship of the gods in Ancient Greece and Rome), the completed some learning activities which allowed them to explore to explore the worship of classical gods and finally came back to the SOLO rubric they had measured themselves against initially and reviewed their progress. I have the students the rubric I had devised on our LMS (we use Moodle) and the students measured where they were using a simple google form – one for the beginning of the lesson and one for the end. All students in the class, bar one, could articulate a shift in their understanding. Some shifts were quantitative (moving from pre – uni or uni to multi) but I was surprised to see how many students could move through from a quantitative level of understanding (uni or multi) to relational.
I am keen to explore these shifts with the students in more depth.

My next steps:
1. Keep looking for ways to make SOLO visible in my teaching practice.
2. To challenge students regarding their evidence to justify the level the are placing themselves at
3. To co-construct rubrics with students – rather than using the ones I had constructed (as I have been doing)