Whiteboard | instructions

I do love giving personalised, individual, face-to-face feedback and feedforward to my students.

Especially if there are 15 adults in one group and we meet only once a week for 3 clock hours.

15 people multiplied by 10 minutes each and some technical breaks equals almost the whole time of our meeting and I spend it in another room with my students taking it in turns to come and talk about their progress so far and action plan for the following weeks.

It means coming up with self-study ideas and keeping the whole group on task for 3 hours without my involvement. And it’s never easy. But doable.

How do I make sure they are self-reliant, work independently of me but with each other?

I design a selection of self-study tasks and usually leave the answer keys in envelopes attached to the board or blu-tacked around the classroom so once they’re done with a set of tasks, the correct answers are there to be found.

But how do I make sure they know when they’re supposed to work on on their own, pair up and when to form larger groups, without me in the room to tell them?

Here’s a tiny sample of my whiteboard instructions:
instructions - whiteboard - reading task

So what does the pic translate to?

  1. Read the text on your own.
  2. Discuss the questions from task 5A in pairs.
  3. Do task 5B on your own, then compare your answers with a friend.
  4. Do task 5C in pairs.
  5. Follow instructions in 5D and work in groups of three.

From my experience, students learn the code really quickly and are happy to follow the drawn instructions. Especially if it means each of them gets some one-to-one feedback in the meantime and those waiting for their turn do not waste their time but are busy with the self-study tasks.

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