SWOT – Feedback with a difference.

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I can’t remember when I first learnt about SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis but I do know that I find myself using it again and again. As a classroom teacher I used it for three way meetings with parents and students and as an IT teacher I pulled it out again recently to reflect on the progress of my Year 6 start stop animations.

It’s six weeks into their semester project and I interviewed each pair. We identified the strengths of their partnership, their skills and their animation. I loved it when they identified having fun as a strength! Then the weaknesses were identified. They were very thoughtful and realistic. The next step is where I find the most critical thinking occurs as the students use the opportunity heading to work out how to resolve the weaknesses.

One group of three students identified that it was difficult having three group members as there were only two roles in the animation and they had coasted a bit because one member was always the third wheel. As our discussion proceeded to the opportunity section they quite naturally worked out how to all have a job to do. This involved bringing another device and building the next set. I sat there and made encouraging noises. It was wonderful seeing them problem solve and becoming excited about it.

I find threats a very useful heading because it is a handy way to get them to identify what it is that may stop them from completing the project. For some students it was the admission that they had been absent or forgotten their equipment. Others realised that playing with the Lego could be a threat if they didn’t stay focused. Speaking about the threats means we can get it out in the open and work to make sure they finish.

During the interviews I wrote down their comments and gave them to the students as a record of their progress. This process helps me as I can troubleshoot some technical difficulties as they arise, provide guidance or just compliment them on their progress. I enjoyed spending some one on one time with each group as it can be so easy to be constantly on the move in an IT lesson.

Now to make sure I give good feedback to my other ICT classes.

How do other people give feedback?

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