Dylan Wiliam – Day Two

Look, I have to say that this was the day I was really looking forward to. The anticipation of getting stuck into the nitty-gritty of how to ‘do’ formative assessment was high!

But, the day was not quite as good as I hoped. Sure we talked about FA, but a lot of it was stuff we’d already covered in Teaching and Learning meetings. For the MG team, the conference would have been better as a half-day recap followed by a day and a half of working on FA techniques.

Perhaps DW just intends it as a taster, a way to get schools to get him in and talk specifics. I wouldn’t be averse to that!

The end of the day went slowly, as my brain slowly filled up. Too much information in too short a time. As an introvert (see Susan Cain’s excellent website on Medium for clarity around this term) I need time to process what I’ve heard and seen. Sometimes, having every minute of the day taken up with presentations and exercises is not productive.

Nevertheless, I’ve collected the day’s tweets in a Storify, with the link below.



Dylan Wiliam – Day One (of Two)

Up at 6am – (This is 11 mins before my alarm usually goes off and 30 mins before I would normally get out of bed. I do love my ‘snooze’ button). Drive to Mentone Station. Park car. Get on platform. Check Myki (good to go). Forget to swipe on (more on that later). Check PTV planner app for next train. All good. Station announcement. “The Frankston Line is currently experiencing delays of between 4 and 9 minutes, due to signal problems at Cheltenham.” By my calculations, the train I wanted to catch is already 12 minutes late, so you can imagine what the platform looks like. Train arrives. Get on. Squish my suitcase into a corner and stand. And stand. And stand. And get squished. Because the further up the line you go, the more people try to squish on. The train is stopping all stations. So it’s slow. And it’s packed. And there’s a backlog. So it’s more than usually slow. In my head I know there’s nothing to be done but wait out the journey and hope I’m not too late. Annoyingly loud girls have annoyingly inane conversation. They get off and two city workers get on. And have the same inane conversation. I retreat into my audiobook – City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare. I’d rather spend my time hanging out with Clary and Jase and Simon than listen to their hoohah.

Eventually I get to Parliament, and not late at all. But the Myki won’t touch off. Remember back at Mentone? Yeah, that. Lovely train man releases the gate with a warning to be careful touching on. Bless! Carry suitcase up the stairs, and onto Spring Street, then around the corner of Little Collins to the Sheraton. Up in the lift and into the conference. It’s not even 9am – and I’m pooped.

Luckily, we are here to listen and work with Dylan Wiliam, Formative Assessment guru and, as we discover during the day, a pretty nice guy.

You can see my complete tweet journey over at Storify (embed below) but I thought that I would tease out a few of the a-ha moments I had today.

AH1 – Within the first few minutes I had my first AH regarding Teacher Appraisal…a scoring model doesn’t work, but a FEEDBACK model does work. We’re supposed to be working on a feedback model, but it’s not always used that way.

AH2 – There’s only one 21C skill. Paraphrasing a quote from Papert (1998) – success in the 21C looks like this…knowing how to act and react to a situation that you have NEVER SEEN BEFORE.
That’s from 17 years ago, and we’re still teaching in a 20C way.
How about this one?

“The test of success in education is not the amount of knowledge that a pupil takes away from school, but [his/her] appetite to know and [his/her] capacity to learn. If the school sends out children with the desire for knowledge and some idea how to acquire and use it, it will have done its work.”

This is from Livingstone…in 1941!!!!! That’s 74 years ago, peeps!

AH3 – I already had a handle on this one, but it bears repeating. If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? Learning Intentions and Success Criteria are critical for students to know where they are going and what it looks like when they get there.

AH4 – Planning your questions is a necessary part of your lesson planning. It’s not a question of Closed v Open – sometimes Closed questions get useful responses. Questions need to give the teacher feedback on understanding and thinking, not just ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

That’s enough for today. See you after Day Two.