Is your communication & engagement in the blogosphere ‘sophisticated and impressive’?

Yes! We all have opinions and beliefs and we represent a diverse range of backgrounds with those opinions and beliefs. It’s good to have integrity and to be able to offer a cogent argument and present your ideas with conviction. But do we as teachers practise what we preach when it comes to communicating and adapting language, and interacting and responding? Are we doing so in ‘sophisticated and impressive’ ways, or are we limited with room for development?

I’ve just been putting together a marking grid for a raft of speaking & listening assessments I’ll be running with my GCSE English students next week and I thought it’d be brilliant if everyone on blog discussion forums aimed for the Band 5 (Grade A) assessment criteria:

  • Communicating & Adapting Language
    • Student highlights priorities and essential detail when communicating complex and demanding subject matter (yes, everyone in blog discussions seem to be quite good at that)
    • Student uses a sophisticated repertoire of strategies to meet challenging contexts and purposes (introduction of Venn diagrams sometimes helps ;-))
    • Shows an assured choice and flexible use of standard English vocabulary and grammar in appropriate situations (yes, everyone’s brilliant at that too)
  • Interacting & Responding
    • Student sustains concentrated listening, showing understanding of complex ideas through interrogating what is said (it sometimes seems that this is where things start to go to pot – do people really ‘listen’ and ‘interrogate’ enough… not with the Gestapo light shining in your face, but seeking to clarify and really understand the other person’s point of view and where they are coming from…)
    • Student shapes direction and content of talk, responding with flexibility to develop ideas and challenges assumptions (I sometimes wonder if people could be a little more flexible with a view to developing ideas in blog discussions, rather than remaining so entrenched… I’ve been accused of being entrenched so I’m guilty of this too sometimes – does integrity have to equate to total rigidity? If you might be wrong, at what point do you engage with that possibility? To challenge assumptions you do have to work out where the other person is coming from and why they hold their ideas.)
    • Student initiates, develops and sustains discussion through encouraging participation and interaction, resolving differences and achieving positive outcomes (I don’t think we value this one enough and we all need to work on this… even if it does seem like our ideas are at the opposite end of a schematic diagram)..

All comments welcome 🙂

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