This is the final article in a three part series demonstrating the impacts of a teaching intervention on students creative thinking. Read Part One where Anna, Lisa and Anita discuss how teachers and researchers worked together to guide deeper learning by students; followed by Part Two, which discusses how a different approach to thinking made a difference to students creative writing.
The impact of the intervention
At the time of intervention, despite being exposed to half a unit of poetry, the students in this class were not utilising known poetic devices when given the opportunity to free write poetry.
During the intervention, the students were taught how to self-assess their ideas on the same rubric that the teachers used. 68 percent of the students scored themselves more highly at the end of the intervention compared with the beginning.
A positive result observed was the students comfort level to list ideas that were ‘strange’ or ‘outside the box’ grew exponentially with each activity. Many students were held back by the worry of ‘getting it wrong’.
Overall the task enhanced the students' ability to formulate and share their thinking and ideas. The repeated nature of the task yielded positive results.
Next, we introduced the 5 Senses Brainstorming strategy. The students’ goal was to use their five senses and poetic devices to describe a photograph. This took the same format as our original thinking routine, as PEN Principle 3 tells us that spatial predictability guides attention.
Again, by the end of the intervention the student self-assessment data achieved similar results as the first strategy, with 72 percent marking themselves more highly than when they first began the strategy. Both of these student assessments reflected teacher data almost identically.
The post test results were phenomenal.
The students’ writing became more descriptive, they implemented the devices previously abandoned in the writing process. Their content became emotive and attracted an emotional response when reading. They also wrote longer and more detailed texts.
During this micro-project, we did not discover something altogether new, nor did we try anything that was groundbreaking. However, by measuring the impact that these simple thinking routines had on our students, we are now able to confidently back up our best practice with data, professional opinion and real results.
Where to next?
The College continues to work with the Science of Learning principles, ideas and strategies. After holding our own Science of Learning Conference in 2019, we have explored new ideas, shared experiences and trialed many strategies in our classrooms across the College.