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The Role of a Teacher in a Critique Lesson

Excerpt from Leaders of Their Own Learning

Created By

EL Education

Topic

  • Assessment
  • Classroom Instruction
  • Student Work

The teacher must take an active role in facilitation throughout a critique lesson. This process works best when it looks organic (emerging entirely from student ideas) but is in fact skillfully shaped. The teacher chooses students strategically for comments, governs the flow of discussion and contributes enthusiasm, interjects compelling comments to build interest and makes key points, and reframes student observations when necessary to make them clear to the group and connected to the learning targets. The teacher needs to remember that the critique is a lesson with clear learning targets, and should not hesitate to take charge of the flow to ensure the session is productive.

Be a Strong Guardian of Critique norms

The most important teacher role is to foster and sustain a critique culture that is emotionally safe for students and productive for learning. The critique rules, or norms, must be explicit and tracked vigilantly during the lesson to ensure that all students feel protected from ridicule (even subtle sarcasm or facial expressions) and that comments are specific and instructive. The critique rules should require participants to be kind, specific, and helpful in their comments. In addition to guarding against any hurtful comments, this also means guarding against vague comments (e.g., “I like it,” “It’s good”). Participants must point to specific features (e.g., “I think the title is well chosen,” “Including the graph makes it much clearer to me”). It means that repetitive comments or tangential comments that derail the momentum of learning should be avoided. The participants should be aware of the goals for the critique lesson, and their comments should relate to the group effort to build understanding.

Download this resource to read the full text.

Created By

EL Education

Topic

  • Assessment
  • Classroom Instruction
  • Student Work

The teacher must take an active role in facilitation throughout a critique lesson. This process works best when it looks organic (emerging entirely from student ideas) but is in fact skillfully shaped. The teacher chooses students strategically for comments, governs the flow of discussion and contributes enthusiasm, interjects compelling comments to build interest and makes key points, and reframes student observations when necessary to make them clear to the group and connected to the learning targets. The teacher needs to remember that the critique is a lesson with clear learning targets, and should not hesitate to take charge of the flow to ensure the session is productive.

Be a Strong Guardian of Critique norms

The most important teacher role is to foster and sustain a critique culture that is emotionally safe for students and productive for learning. The critique rules, or norms, must be explicit and tracked vigilantly during the lesson to ensure that all students feel protected from ridicule (even subtle sarcasm or facial expressions) and that comments are specific and instructive. The critique rules should require participants to be kind, specific, and helpful in their comments. In addition to guarding against any hurtful comments, this also means guarding against vague comments (e.g., “I like it,” “It’s good”). Participants must point to specific features (e.g., “I think the title is well chosen,” “Including the graph makes it much clearer to me”). It means that repetitive comments or tangential comments that derail the momentum of learning should be avoided. The participants should be aware of the goals for the critique lesson, and their comments should relate to the group effort to build understanding.

Download this resource to read the full text.

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