Shantell Dillon


Clyde Valley High

  • Digital Learning: Pupil Engagement

In what way does changing the focus on an exit pass affect pupil engagement in Digital Learning?

Questioning is a strategy used by all. It is impossible to get through life without asking questions. Wragg (2001) states that we ask questions to gain knowledge, understanding and we ask ourselves questions to encourage our memory recall. Thus, providing evidence that questioning is a tool used by everyone. However, teachers employ this strategy not only to gain knowledge and understanding but to gauge engagement, to encourage critical thinking, so that young people may explore higher ordered thinking.

Furthermore, Vygotsky, L. S. (1978) agrees that questioning is a necessary tool used by teachers to assess several elements of teaching and learning and is the best strategy for developing critical thinking. Questions are vital in drama as we not only ask ourselves questions but rely on the answers from others when needing feedback on roles we are playing, effective lighting, blocking, set etc. The list is endless for drama as there are teams of different people who make productions happen, hence, communication being a key element for working effectively as a team, hence, what is communication without question? Through my own practice I have used questioning to engage, assess and encourage learners. The Exit Pass Strategy is a commonly used strategy for getting a dipstick measure of where students’ understanding is at the conclusion of a lesson. Exit passes can provide a wealth of information in a short period of class time. While they are quick and easy to implement, making careful choices about how to focus the exit pass can improve the value of the information a teacher gathers. However, I have noticed on action that the questions being asked aren’t always thought provoking and motivating. Exit Passes allow Teachers to gather very targeted information about a particular success criterion or some element of the learning intention. Exit passes can be particularly useful in gathering evidence of students’ understanding of the concepts in the lesson. The exit pass highlights a selected success criterion or some part of the learning intention and can thus reiterate for students in another way what the important learning is for the lesson. With regular use, students grow accustomed to articulating and sharing critical thinking and see the exit pass as a way to share information with the teacher that will influence subsequent instruction.

Throughout my teaching experience, I witnessed a lot of pupil’s regress when being asked higher order questions and simply answer with a simple one-word answer that does not give much insight to their own thinking or understanding but, just simply memory, which led to my research into Bloom (1956) who suggests pupils need to be comfortable with lower ordered questions to move on to the higher order. Bloom (1956) has split questions into six sections of importance, with the first three sections being lower order: remembering, understanding, and applying in contrast to the three higher ordered sections which consist of analysing, evaluating, and creating. This observation has identified a problem in teaching and therefore, requires research into better strategies to combat for all pupils when it comes to improving their conceptual learning. Taking support from Blooms (1956) taxonomy theory it is suggested that pupils cannot move onto the higher order until they gasp the understanding of the lower questions.

The department for education (2020) outlines that teachers should be using the appropriate strategies to meet the needs of all students and guide them in taking leadership of their own learning. However, on reflection of my own practice I could see I was not meeting the standard which was clearly set and therefore, I had to investigate through reading-based literature on questioning and how to best implement this as a tool for all pupils and all abilities.

Thus, leading to the question, “Does changing the focus of an exit pass effect pupil engagement?” Through investigation of literature based on exit passes, I found that most practitioners believed that there should be a range of different focused questions executed in the classroom. This is suggested as there are pupils of all levels and abilities and a range of questions will allow all learners to feel included. It is said that for questioning to be effective we must use sequencing and balance: ‘Sequencing is asking questions in a patterned order with the purpose to elicit meaningful responses and Balance is asking both convergent and divergent questions from multiple knowledge domains and at varying cognitive levels’ (Wilson NS, Smetana L. 2011). Furthermore, by using a mix of the two styles, we can achieve the GTC’s standards of meeting all pupils needs and give each learner the opportunity to learn at their own pace and ability.

In addition, ethically speaking, I propose to collect data qualitatively, as well as quantitatively, to get the most effective and reliable result for my study. Tracy (2013) believes qualitative data is just as important if not more when investigating. They find that when collecting data based on people’s opinions, we get a truthful result, rather than just statistics based on numbers. When gathering thoughts and feelings, we establish a consensus of what people want and need, which is more beneficial when working to improve learning and teaching. I will be producing a form and instructions that are clear and simple in order to gain honest reliable feedback, Denzin, (1998) giving students the freedom and choice they are entitled to.


To assess whether giving the Exit pass a different focus, improves pupil’s engagement, creating a higher number of pupils being able to develop their conceptual thinking.

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