Will this be graded? Create-Connect-Celebrate



As an IB teacher I constantly ask my students to reflect.

This isn’t as easy as it sound… “Shall we just write down what we did?”, this is the most frequently asked question!  No don’t just write down what you did, think about it – what did you learn?

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(Taken from this You tube video: https://youtu.be/XIsznZR4hzY)

This is a video that I like to share with my students:


“Peer based learning is characterized by a context of reciprocity”


When looking at the use of social media platforms, this idea reciprocity is far more important than one might first think.  Yes, it’s great to get ‘likes’ but as the video suggest “learning is inherently a social activity, motivates and encouraged by interaction with others.”  The perimeters for learning have changed, and  the very definition of social is vastly different from my youth. Commenting and discussing online postings is an amazing tool.  It gives our students time to read, digest and then think about how they would like to be involved in peer based learning, ‘where participants feel they can both produce and evaluate knowledge and culture’. (p39)  The idea that the construction of meaning happens within a social context is one that resonates very strongly with me.  I firmly agree with the statement that ‘the foundation of learning is still based on social interaction’, however this may be defined.

Perhaps this idea of peer based learning is why Muller suggests that ‘You Tube is the platform that will revolutionise education’.  You Tube is not graded? I’d argue that it definitely is!  Perhaps there isn’t a defined rubric…, perhaps you don’t get a percentage…, but someone, somewhere is making a value judgement.  However, the idea of interest based communities ensures that the feedback is seen as authentic,

  • “It’s something I can do… be creative and write and not be graded [because] you know how in school you’re creative, but you’re doing it for a grade so it doesn’t really count” (p32)

What a powerful statement! Peers matter more than grades… more than any formal evaluation.

Finally, it must also be noted that this context of reciprocity is a two way street.  The learner receiving the comments can reflect on their learning and refine their ideas and the peer assessing the work is given the opportunity to ‘exercise adult-like agency and leadership that is not otherwise available to them’ (p30).

So much to think about on so many levels and parents think that having their kids stuck in front of a computer is inhibiting their abilities to be ‘social’.

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3 Responses to Will this be graded? Create-Connect-Celebrate

  1. Alex Bunting says:

    I love the idea of peers feedback meaning more than grades to students. Imagine if grading was taken away and only written feedback was given. Learning could be phenomenal! Dylan Williams once said that if you give students a grade and written feedback, the first thing they do is look at their grade, and the second thing is to look at the person next to them’s grade. A number or letter helps students improve much less than targeted feedback. The problem we have, particularly in high school where I teach, is that parents expect the letter, as do universities right now. How do we go about delivering feedback in a way that satisfies all the relevant people?

    I recently went to an IB Level 2 training and the overwhelming thing our instructor said was that they wanted learning to be done in a way that was skills based. But this didn’t make sense given the IB Physics curriculum is so content based. We asked why so little of the overall grade was for skills and so much for content if thats what they really wanted. They said it was something that would take time, but little changed in the last syllabus revision we questioned how long it would actually take.

    Before we can get parents and administrators on board with formative and not summative feedback, we need some fundamental changes in how curriculum is devised (by IB, OCR, AQA, EdExcel etc) and how universities can examine a students achievement in a way which does not require a number of level (portfolios may be the way).

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  3. Sylvia, your post invigorated me this week. Thanks! With you highlighting the significance of social interaction in education, I’ve pursued some avenues, I, otherwise, might not have. In a way, it’s influenced me to examine the little things I can bring to school everyday they can’t uploaded, downloaded, like, or commented on. Instead, I have to bring, however underwhelming it might be to students, myself. In myself, I should deliver caring, honesty, integrity, and enthusiasm
    As a learner, I’ve often forgotten interesting facts and stories from uninspired teachers, but I’ll always remember a passionate teacher sharing something he or she loves. I think this goes for many learners, and I don’t think it will go away anytime soon. Thanks for the post!


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