Formative assessment strategies play an important role in modern teaching and learning, so it is crucial that educators are implementing these techniques effectively, and to the benefit of the children within the classroom. As formative assessment is an ongoing process of the teacher and learner taking part in ongoing discussion, assessment and feedback, consistency and a commitment from all stakeholders within the classroom is an important factor in seeing a clear outcome of using such strategies. In this enquiry, Assessment is for Learning (AiFL) formative assessment strategies focusing on the use of questioning would be introduced to the classroom and measured over a four week duration. Vygotsky, L. & Cole, M (1978) discusses the positive impact and depth of learning that children can enjoy when working in partnership with a more able peer, which the teacher can facilitate through a nurturing, inclusive classroom ethos. Torrance, H. (2007) discusses that children need clear guidance and structure from the teacher in order for AiFL questioning techniques to be beneficial to learners. Therefore, teachers must ensure their questioning is specific to the learning outcomes and that additional time for children to participate in discussion is planned for and consistent. Clarke, S. (2014) shares that this approach to direct teaching and questioning promotes a growth mindset within the classroom, which would lead to children making cross-curricular connections and deepening their understanding. This depth of learning and progression is part of Education Scotland’s principles of Curriculum design (Building the Curriculum 3, Education Scotland, 2010), making the introduction of Think, Pair, Share and the outcomes stemming from this linked to the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), which underpins all teaching and learning in Scotland. For the outcome of the practitioner enquiry, Mega, C., Ronconi, L., & De Beni, R. (2014) discuss that children who are aware and who take an active role in using their learning intentions and success criteria have a stronger grasp on the learning taking place, making this an important consideration for observing Think, Pair, Share within the classroom. This approach to teaching and learning can foster children’s confidence and engagement in their learning, thus improving attainment for historically low-achievers, making Think, Pair, Share an interesting focus for assessing the outcome of this practitioner enquiry. To implement the enquiry within the classroom taking on board the academic reading that discusses the positive impact that effective formative assessment and questioning strategies could bring, the teacher would use Think, Pair, Share in conjunction with effective questioning. This would encourage and develop higher order thinking skills in the children through use of Bloom’s Taxonomy hierarchical cognitive questioning.
The aims of the practitioner enquiry were to:
- Observe and assess the impact of introducing Think, Pair, Share within the classroom
- To reflect upon children’s attainment, engagement and use of the Think, Pair, Share strategy as a result of the practitioner enquiry taking place.
Implementing Think, Pair, Share within the classroom was facilitated during Numeracy and IDL lessons, as these were the areas identified as having more opportunities for partner discussion and evaluations by the learners for evidence purposes.