Reaction papers

Today both my Year 11 classes had one page ‘reaction’ papers due. I asked them to write me a reaction to their learning in history last week. I wasn’t too sure what I would get. Some wrote me summaries of content, some critiqued my teaching, and some delved into their own learning. I suppose I’m really after a combination of all of these and I’m hoping to continue this process on a weekly basis so that I can see what sense the students are making, help them draw connections, and think about how I can adjust my teaching. Here are some of the comments that particularly struck me:

I began the topic apprehensive about my level of interest in the subject. (Ziggy)

Reading the communist manifesto was in some ways a highlight. (Ziggy)

One of the questions that greatly grasped my interest was the change of the population and the change in urban growth throughout the century. (Ollie)

I would have thought that World War I would have almost been a modern world, however it was still very rooted in an almost Napoleonic era. (Liam)

Last week I was pretty confused with what we were learning. To be honest I am still not a hundred percent sure what we are focusing on for the term. (Nick)

I only have a slight idea as to what Imperialism actually is, however this reading has given me a starting point to start asking questions. (Anon)

It hit home to me that only 100 years ago Britain was the major world power, instead of America. This was a very unusual concept for me as I have never lived without America being the world’s superpower. (Peter)

The French tune ‘La Marseillaise’ mentioned the words ‘So the impure blood can water the furrows of our fields’. These lyrics obviously are quite brutal, and completely startled me. (Peter)

This week was an absolute breath of fresh air. (Ben)

I love the fact that no lesson is ever the same; it keeps me on my toes and helps me to stay focused, as I am one who works well when I am interested in what is going on. (Ben)

It was a good way to come back to school with music in the classroom and the atmosphere of the class. (Max)

The new topic is something that I find really interesting because my family was fighting for England in the wars. (James)

It is really cool how we have no idea what is going to happen in the lesson so class doesn’t become boring and repetitive. It is good though, that you are not a totally new age teacher with all their modern ideas. (James)

The last week of history was good but I get the feeling that we are only just getting started. I still have no idea about what more than half of the ‘isms’ mean and so lots of things don’t make sense to me yet. (Phil)

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