Practitioner enquiry is a process for education practitioners to develop a more in-depth understanding of any issue or concept that could inform their practice in the classroom and the practice of other teachers (Coleman, 2007). Through discussion with probationer colleagues from both the primary and secondary sector, it was apparent that a common interest in Assessment is for Learning (AifL) was shared. This was something we recognised as being a key factor in the learning and teaching in the classroom despite the level, ability or subject of teaching. From an in depth discussion with the group of probationer colleagues, we firstly thought about what we all regularly observe in our classroom. It quickly became apparent that we all shared the same recurring issues in our classrooms:
- Often the same children offered to answer questions
- Often the same children actively participated in discussions
- Often the same children can offer their answers quickly
- Some children were not fully engaged
- Some children lacked confidence in voicing the opinions or answers
- Some children lose motivation in answering questions as the quickest children are often selected first.
This can make it difficult for the teacher to assess the children’s understanding and progress the learning further. William and Leahy (2015) suggested that selecting the child willing to answer the question does not assess the understanding of the whole class. The children willing to give an answer generally are confident they have the correct answer or response. Therefore, for this practitioner enquiry, we decided to focus on one area of AifL and investigate the effect of introducing a random questioning technique in to the classroom. The technique used is selecting a random lollipop stick from a jar, with each stick having a pupil’s name on it.
The aim of this practitioner enquiry is to promote pupil participation for all, encouraging and providing the opportunity for the pupils who do not regularly offer answers to the teacher’s questions or participate in class discussions. This practitioner enquiry will also serve an additional aim of endorsing whole class engagement, which in turn would enhance pupil’s achievement and learning.