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Using ATL skills to provide effective feedback

Primary Years Programme (PYP) teacher Johana Barón reflects on how she encourages her students to develop approaches to learning (ATL) skills through their inner reflections.

Using ATL skills to provide effective feedback

By Johana Barón  

The educators at my school work as a collaborative team, sharing useful strategies to effectively teach in our online environment. I asked how I can provide effective feedback to my third-grade students; I realized, it doesn’t matter if they will be experts at the top of their class, or beginners working to master a skill for the first time. All students need is the same opportunity to reflect on the process they completed during their unit of inquiry. I also think back to my time as a young learner and how much feedback helped me make adjustments that reinforced my skills and methodologies.

I’m delighted to support my students in the development of skills, knowledge, concepts and various IB learner profile attributes to improve their learning and assessment. For that reason, I designed a model in which students analyze some questions according to the approaches to learning (ATL) skills to encourage them to undertake an internal dialogue recognizing the next steps and how to take them.

Using ATL skills to provide effective feedback

A student’s reflection using the approaches to learning (ATL) skills.

This image motivated them to reflect on how to improve their skills. For me, it was crucial to observe their strengths and perspectives while answering these questions.  For example, we started to focus on self-management skills with our students because we consider it essential to foster them to develop the others. At the beginning of the unit, they answered the first question individually.” How can you improve your daily routine.” Some of them said:

I could create a schedule.
Be on time in my class.
Eat healthy food.
Get up early.

Then, as a group, we decided to share their discoveries to help each other with useful strategies. One girl said, “you should elaborate a schedule with different colors to identify which task you need to complete”. It was a magical moment for all students involved in this learning experience telling valuable insights or thoughts to the whole class.

I continued with the social skills using the same methodology to encourage them to establish a pleasant environment in each virtual encounter. Some students said, “we have to respect the opinion of others,” and others said” listening to the teacher attentively.” They felt worthy of knowing how to improve their skills and at the same time, be better in their life. Being responsible for their knowledge in a specific context, with this in mind, shows how they have improved knowledge and skills by themselves. At this point, they’ve made sense of the feedback and focused on their learning more than correcting a task. Once they assume their responsibility in the process of learning; we can introduce written and oral feedback.

Using ATL skills to provide effective feedback

Students reflecting on ways to develop their social skills.

But as a teacher, I also think we need to focus on the state of mind skills. For that reason, I acknowledge the importance to monitor each of our students in online sessions. Students need to be motivated to express their feelings, and our responsibility is to support each one. We provided them with different learning of experiences to enhance ATL skills. Because one of the fundamental points, in our students, is to discover proper emotional management and self-motivation.

How have we contributed to these skills? Demonstrating that life has different moments and we should face it with a positive attitude (as well as challenges) and create strategies to go over them. We also included some learning experiences to be aware of the importance of these aspects in our online sessions. These are:

Showing gratitude to their family and teachers.

Answering questions related to self-management skills.

Designing creative tasks.

Workshops focusing on positive relationships with peers.

Telling stories about their family and friends.

I’ve also suggested building confidence in the students by listening attentively to them, monitoring all the time, praising their goals and being patient and showing enthusiasm with all their comments. In some cases, we need to communicate with our students individually to know the reason why they are absent in the dynamics of the classes.  Effective communication is essential to engage our students in the development of self-management skills. Finally, teaching in a virtual environment has been fantastic for me, because I have explored some useful resources to keep me updated. At the same time, I have supported my students in the development of skills. During the process, they demonstrate how they have enhanced their routine, habits and built a rapport with peers.

What self-management skills do you think online students need to develop? Let us know in the comments👇🏼

Using ATL skills to provide effective feedback

Deysi Johana Barón Gutiérrez has over 20 years of experience in teaching. She holds a Master Degree in Education from Pedagogica University, and has worked as a Primary Years Programme (PYP) teacher in Gimnasio Los Portales School in Bogotá, Colombia for the last four years. She is proficient in planning and developing strategies to support the learning process. She has published two articles for the Sharing PYP blog “Solving conflicts together” and “skills and disposition in online learning”. Finally, she believes in the importance of hearing students’ voices for establishing an environment of trust and safety. You can connect with her here.

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