‘High- quality marking of written work makes a vital contribution to pupil progress. Marking provides children with a clear and precise guide to how to improve their next piece of work and a clear expectation that they concentrate on improving this aspect as the next small step in making progress in their learning overall. In effect, marking is short- term target setting for pupils, as well as an opportunity for teachers to make accurate assessments of pupil progress and needs.’ – Desford Primary School (2017).
During my placement, there was no marking policy. However, I agree with the statement above and consider effective marking as a crucial form of assessment. The children love receiving feedback and next steps. It is evident that I have also used positive reinforcement within my marking to praise the child for producing such a fantastic piece of work. I always ensure to begin with strengths and then provide areas for improvement. I expected the children to respond to my marking to ensure that they have fully understood their feedback and if I have corrected spelling then I complied with the class teacher and expected them to correct underneath. Although marking is very time consuming, it is key to pupil progress through providing effective feedback. I aim to continue providing good quality written feedback as I develop into an NQT.
During my phase 1a practice, I followed school policy and worked alongside the class teacher to implement positive reinforcement into my practice. At the end of every week, we appointed a deserving child to become ‘reader of the week’ and ‘wise owl of the week’. The children loved having their photograph up on the wall and this really motivated them to want to read at home! This worked specifically well with reluctant readers, as this was an incentive that they all wanted to achieve! As well of positive reinforcement, it shows high expectations of the children as we wanted each child to have received each award by the end of the year. Also, if they were watching their friends receive an award, it made them want it more!! I definitely aim to use these rewards in my future practice as I believe that every achievement should be celebrated! It encourages and motivates children to want to succeed – see Positive Reinforcement theory for more information.
As my final placement was in an all boys school, I really struggled to think of a behaviour management strategy that would really engage them but also work! After getting to know the children, it became clear that they loved all things monster. So, I thought Class Dojo would be an interesting and effective behaviour management strategy to introduce. I set up the point system and explained that the child that had the most Dojo points would receive a trophy that they could take home for the week. It was only £6.00 off Amazon and worked a treat!! I also wouldn’t tell them when they received points and they would either see it on the screen or hear the ‘bleep’ sound! This kept them on their toes and motivated to want to do well. As the school already used house points to manage whole-school behaviour, the boys had an understanding of how this worked. In order to implement both, I made up a rule that if somebody lost dojo points then they would also loose house points (although I didn’t want that to happen and neither did they!). Shortly after implementing it, I discovered it was so so easy and accessible to use but there was also an option to involve parents in their child’s education via text messages and enabling them to access Class Dojo via using a personal password. Personally, I thought this would be a fantastic way to engage parents with their child’s school life, however the class teacher though it would be best to leave it as the parents had very high expectations of their children. Despite this, I think this would work well depending on the school and it is something that I definitely aim to experiment with as an NQT! Although the boys LOVED this strategy and were forever counting up their dojo points, it was very similar to their house point system. If I had more time, I would have loved to have implemented a completely different behaviour strategy but as I was only there for 10 weeks, this would have been a challenge! I will definitely experiment with a wide range of behaviour management strategies as an NQT.