Keep your heart with all vigilance,

for from it flow the springs of life.

Exit Slips

I quite like ASCD as a source of quality literature to gain insights into teaching and learning. This month, Robert J.Marzano shares an excerpt from his book, 'Students Who Challenge Us', on the many uses of exit slips.

What I really like about the idea is the simplicity of it. I learned at some sharing that it is important that time at the end of the lesson is carved out for students to reflect on their learning. Reflection is probably the most powerful activity or practice when it comes to learning as it engages the student or the practitioner in metacognition - to think about what they've been thinking. Exit slips are an easy way to not only get students to reflect but are useful for both assessment and feedback.

However, I must shamefully admit that this practice is neither as regular nor frequent as I would like it to be. On the flip side, given how much facilitation strategies are a part of Project Work, it isn't as useful given that the entire lesson is already spent writing their thoughts and queries. Nonetheless, I do think the same concept can be applied for video lessons. A Google Form can be made and pasted as a link in the comments or in the video. The responses of students provide useful information for the teacher to make an informed choice and act.

What really sets Robert's use of exit cards as a reflective tool is the clear and organized presentation as to how it can be used. They are to:

  1. Provide formative assessment data
    These are primarily to obtain information about the students' level of understanding, specifically what they understand, how well they understand and what they are confused about.
  2. Stimulate student self-analysis
    While reflection is already self-analysis, this gets students to pay particular attention to the effort they have put in. More often than not, I find that students are quite capable of progressing on their own. They just need that little push or kick at times.
  3. Focus on instructional strategies
    As the name implies, it gets students to reflect on how effective the instructional strategies were. For me, the insight is in the second question that Robert ask students to reflect on: their behaviour during the execution of the strategy. Teaching and learning is a two way thing. No strategy, however innovative, will not work on a student who chooses otherwise.
  4. Open communications to the teacher
    While I do pose these questions to my students asking what I could do better or keep doing, it is only asked at the end of the module or academic year. I ought to ask this question regularly. No use acting on the feedback of the previous batch. The effects are not only too late but on the wrong crowd too.

While Robert uses index card or pieces of paper, I will be using Google Forms as a way to store and archive all these information. That way, information is collected throughout the year and serves as a means to track the progress of students, allowing me to make the necessary corrections to my design and practice or intervene appropriately.

Ananth Pai

Courage To Teach

Courage To Teach