Friday, 2 November 2018

CoL - End of Inquiry - Student Voice (Term 4, Week 3).

This week I wanted to get some student voice around the changes achieved by my inquiry. Ryan was away (for an extended period of time), so I could only interview Kian and Paul. 

How have you changed since you started at this school?

Paul - How have you changed since you started at this school?
Good - cause I can talk to my friends.
I can read the hard books - I can spell the word and try to say it.
I have more friends then last year - when people talk to me I can understand them
I am more happy and confident then last year (He then listed 2 people who were his friends last year, and then about 20 who are his friends now, names removed for privacy).
I like school more now than last year. I do more stuff - road patrol, PE teams, helping with milk, Fruit monitor.

"Last year when you asked me a question, i would just be quiet because I didn’t even know. Now when you ask me, I answer."
"Last year i was too scared to say something."
"I was scared people will talk about me, like tease me, like I can’t speak English properly"

Kian - How have you changed since you started at this school?
I'm way less naughty,
I’m trying to not be naughty
I learnt to just walk away.
I'm happy that people think good things of me (rather than people including teachers only thinking of him as a 'naughty' kid).
"Nan told me she was proud of me for trying to stop being naughty"

My thoughts - I was so delighted that in their own way, by themselves, each boy could recognise how they had changed. For Paul especially, he is a completely different person now than he was last year. He is confident, out-going, and involved in everything that happens in the classroom and school. He is recognised by others (students and teachers) for the kind gestures he makes and how he goes out of his way to interact with, be friends with, help and defend other students. Kian could see in himself, like myself and many others do, that he is "way less naughty" as he puts it. In my words, he is managing himself. He even mentioned a strategy that has helped him be "less naughty", and that was "I learnt to just walk away". I also loved that he mentioned how his nan was proud of him, as I have told him many times as well. He sees the change in himself, and it makes him happy that others see it too.

How has your learning changed this year?

We talked at length here about how they are in two reading groups - one group where we read level appropriate colour wheel books, and the other, where they are put in mixed ability groups and expected to listen/follow along with a Level 3 text and participate in the discussion about the text. 

Is being in the mixed group helpful for your reading learning?
Paul - "Yeah, if there’s words you don’t know so they can read it and help you."
"I just stop and listen and follow the words”
Kian - "Sometimes, sometimes they talk too much and its hard for us to talk."
“sometimes I get lost but then I just listen and find the word and then I can do it again”
Paul - "Might learn faster” if we do both the mixed group and the other group.

My thoughts - Both boys could about how the two reading groups are very different, but both boys could see that both groups had value. They knew how to be a part of the more complex group, “sometimes I get lost but then I just listen and find the word and then I can do it again”. They both know they have moved up reading levels and could tell me what level they were at now. Their confidence to participate in the mixed-ability group has grown hugely, and although they usually can't read the entire text (particularly as fast as the rest of the group reads it), they know they can listen and follow along and still talk about it afterwards. None of the other group members (not Kian and Paul, the other members from the class) ever say anything bad about these two not being able to read it, but accept what they offer and include them the best they can into the conversation. In fact sometimes other members request me to put Kian or Paul in their group.
At first I found it a bit disappointing that the two boys only talked about their reading, but upon reflection I found that this was the biggest area of change for them, and the area where they get the most 1:1 or small group attention, as their needs vs. the rest of the class are much greater in reading than in other learning areas (E.g. in maths, Paul can mostly keep up with the regular classroom targeted at Level 3 of the curriculum).

How have I helped you this year?
Kian - "taught me how to read properly, teaching me not to cause fights in the classroom, not to swear in class, telling me to move away from L*** so I have to do the work (believe in me)."

Paul - "how to spell, tell me to take books home and read it, sound out the words and spell it, telling us how to say it properly (not ‘do the fruit’, ‘we are going to deliver the fruit’)"

My thoughts - again, at first I was a little disappointed with their answers as they only really talked about reading. I felt I had helped them with so much more than just reading, but they could only see that one thing.. I thought about it more later and realised that for both of them, being able to read and knowing "how to spell", how to "sound out the words" and "say it properly" was the biggest thing holding them both back from successfully participating in classroom norms, particularly for Paul with his ESOL background. From my point of view, helping them with that one thing (essentially, teaching them words/how to read) was for them, the gateway that opened up all the other avenues of learning that occurred this year.
For Kian, having the confidence to read and participate in learning helped grow his confidence in himself, he stopped telling himself he was dumb, and he began to take risks and try new things. He believed in himself. He wanted to do better and be better. And he did.
For Paul, as he mentioned in the first question, last year he didn't have the words to express himself. Now he does. For him as well, having the words helped him gain confidence to then be able to participate and contribute, to relate to others, to build friendships, to talk in group discussions, to talk to me, to think critically, to be a leader and a good friend.
At the end of the day, teaching these two words/how to read, gave them the tools to achieve everything else.

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