Analysing the third and fourth steps of the game: The creation of questions and its group evaluation.
By: Ana Mª Sánchez Clares.
Let´s divide the analysis in three parts: the one related to the activity, the group functioning and the social implications of the issues.
Considering that studying an educational law is always a harsh task, it could be said that the way of focusing the activity has added some creativity and have forced us to use the superior thinking skills. Creating questions has helped us to focus on the more important issues the law is presenting and thinking on practical situations has been an effective way of understanding the scope of the law changes. On the other hand, it could be said that the worst part of this task has been the ignorance about the criteria that would be used for examining and grading the questions: if the whole class would had known what the criteria were, the quality of the questions had been superior. According to this, the lack of time for examining the whole topic questions was stressful and could have made that the evaluations were no as fair as they could have been. To sum up, let´s say that we value the type of activity positively: tasks that entail a process of elaboration are more time-consuming and require a bigger cognitive effort, but are slower to forget and the learning achievement they provide is usually a better quality one.
In relation to the group work, there have been quite positive moments, but some annoying and disappointing ones as well, and believe me, it is not easy neither to analyse nor to express it. In this case I have to start by the negative points: from the division of the task (that was not understood by half of the group, but in any case was not fair) passing through the content used by most of the group members to make the first set of questions (not the LOMCE, but the topics based on the LOE) and finishing by the delay in presenting the questions to the rest of the group members. On the positive side it has to be considered that, after the first partial failure when creating the first set of questions, we had a group session on Tuesday where we worked as a group analysing the questions, examining the law, rewriting bad questions, making other more simple and, actually, I had to point that day as the best one for being the most "learning generator" one and because of the attitude of openness to change and the will of improvement; unfortunately the will is fickle and we had to suffer again a second delay in the improved set of questions, with all their associated problems for revising language on time and for printing the final work. That relapse can be marked as the worst part, together with the unfair way of dividing the task, and that definitely has to be improved: a group cannot afford repeating the same mistakes, because it undermines confidence and has to keep some equilibrium in the division of work fristly because it´s fair and, secondly, to avoid resentments and for keeping a good atmosphere. Does it mean that the balance tip on the negative? Well, to be fair, not all the members did it badly, and some of them try hard to improve on time, so let´s say that the result is a bittersweet experience.
And what about the educational relations and the implications of the contents we have been working on? Let´s start with the more simple advantage of knowing the law: next year, when we have our teaching-training, we will have a better understanding of the functioning of the school. The second advantage is that having analysed the law changes managing the main sources make us a little less dependent on political manipulation, which is an annoying timeless social issue, but quite a hot issue now the European polls are coming. Finally I would like to reflect on the taxonomy of Bloom and its revisions in relation to the task given: it would have been so different to have had to read the law and learnt it by articles or titles or just stopping in the earlier step of our game when creating the C-maps... This way of structuring the course is a prove of that creativeness and other superior thinking skills can be developed even in relation to arid topics as a law.