The late Grant Wiggins (co-author of the Understanding by Design method of backward design with Jay McTighe) published this article on his website two years ago – http://bit.ly/1rBN0vT. It is the account of a teacher who shadowed Year 10 and 12 students for a couple of days. The takeaways stated by the author are very interesting and may be worth considering if you are reviewing your classroom practice and innovating within your schools.
What would it be like to experience being one of your students?
In the commercial world, in many industries and in IT-related systems and services, the experience of the user or client is a key factor in the design of products, services and customer experiences. It seems sensible that our students’ experience of their learning environment should be used as a key factor in designing the educational experience
This article and several of the comments are a worthwhile and thought-provoking read. The article was very popular (several million reads) and in an equally interesting follow-up article – http://bit.ly/1H71Cyf , Grant revealed that the author of the article, and the teacher involved, was his daughter. At the time of the shadowing exercise, Grant’s daughter was an experienced teacher, of 14 years, who was starting a role as teacher-coach at the time of the shadowing experiment.
This is an interesting area of consideration for all educators, whether they are engaged in routine reflection on their own practice or working on innovating the classroom experience of students. It seems obvious that knowledge of the student experience has to be important, and important enough to explore rather than assume.
While reading around this topic I was surprised at the amount of information available and the number of examples of shadowing that I found. In the first article mentioned above, Grant’s daughter offers a range of tools and templates that can be used when planning to shadow students at school. I also found:
- This website – http://shadowastudent.org/ – which sets educators the challenge to shadow their students as part of their professional learning journey. This is US based, but teachers from 35 countries have been involved.
- This web area is from the NSW Education Department – http://bit.ly/2fKcngE – where student shadowing is offered as a method of professional reflection.
- This is the Google Scholar search results for Student Shadowing in Schools search, showing results from 2010 – http://bit.ly/2fBceOS.
This is a compelling area of study and reflection for teachers and for schools. I’d be interested in your views.