The Gifted and Talented Activity Day, Kingwood CLC.
Pat O’ Brien, a specialist in teaching higher order thinking and accelerated learning techniques, was invited to work with thirty five G&T students from years 7, 8 and 9 at the CLC. The project was essentially about an investigation into DNA and hereditary disease but it involved a variety of different skills; research, teamwork, ICT, communication and leadership. The students were presented with a variety of tasks including extracting information from the internet, writing a powerpoint presentation (individual tasks) and developing a group presentation by merging the work they had completed on their own and assessing the other group’s presentations (group tasks).
The students were deliberately put in vertical groups (ie a mixture of different year groups) in order to beak up friendship groups and see how they worked with people they did not know. It was also hoped that the younger students would be supported and inspired (?) by their older peers. The role of the teachers in the room was solely as facilitators.
There were a number of interesting observations that came out of the day:
o The majority of students coped well
with the research elements of the task and were able to stay on task for the
o The majority of students found it very challenging to work as a team. Many students commented in the feedback that they enjoyed this element the least, typically saying that they felt that they could not ‘control’ the output of their colleagues.
o The vast majority of students significantly lacked the kind of skills that are required for working co-operatively, particularly poor listening skills and poor communication skills. The most effective teams were able to clearly delineate roles, were able to give and receive constructive criticism.
o Most students did not demonstrate the ability to ‘think outside of the box’ and there were minimal examples of risk taking. This resulted in a lot of very similar end products, which very full of information plagiarised from the internet.
This was, however, a very successful day and one that will (hopefully) be repeated this year. The students really benefitted from having an expert trainer, and it was very enlightening for the G&T co-ordinator to be able to observe the whole KS3 cohort working in this environment. It was also good for the students to be challenged and told frankly that the majority of them have a lot to do to improve some of their skills.
You can read the student presentations below:
GROUP SEVEN (Mohammed, Usman, Thomas, Saud and Elliott)