Drawing A Blank

How do we learn more about our pupils?

Well, we could ask them but they don’t always open up so think again.

We could give them a blank timetable and ask them to fill it in.

Now, that could work very nicely!

This is one of the ideas Zoe Elder suggests in her book Full On Learning and I think it’s a real ‘goer’.

In fact, it’s a cracking idea so let’s find out more. Zoe recommends that if we really want to find out what floats the boats of our pupils then we can ask them to complete a blank timetable with the things that they would like to do. They get to put in the boxes what subjects they’d like and at what times of the day.

Zoe says that we can apply certain restrictions on this exercise by saying that there has to be at least three lessons of one subject and two of another (or similar). Alternatively, give students the option of creating subjects. These can be non-school or non-traditional subjects or something completely new.

The blank timetable exercise gives us an insight into the world of each pupil and what their outside interests are. Although it’s unlikely that they will get their wish, this can be a creative exercise in getting to know each other more. You could however, opt for a 20% route like Google and some other companies do.

Zoe says,

If you are lucky, you should be able to elicit some fantastic insights into what excites and motivates them. You may even get some good ideas for new projects or curriculum connections that tap directly into what they want to do and how they want to learn.

The blank timetable exercise is a personal connection exercise and helps us understand what passions pupils have in their lives. It also helps children see the world of learning beyond school and the rich cross-curricular links that can be made.

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