To what extent does verbal feedback improve student engagement among disadvantaged pupils in Year 7 or 8?
This is the question that the UCL Access and Widening Participation Office is trying to answer through the Verbal Feedback Project, in partnership with Ross McGill from TeacherToolkit Ltd, and Mark Quinn from the UCL London Centre for Leadership in Learning.
The Verbal Feedback Project reflects UCL’s commitment to school-based research that informs teaching and learning and supports the progression of disadvantaged students in particular.
We are delighted to be working with the following schools on the Verbal Feedback Project:
- Batley Girls’ High School, West Yorkshire
- London Nautical School, Lambeth
- Oakgrove School, Milton Keynes
- Ranelagh School, Berkshire
- Reigate School, Surrey
- Trinity Catholic School, Warwickshire
- Westminster City School, London
Improving pupil outcomes, reducing teacher workload
The teachers involved in the project come from a broad range of subject disciplines from English to Science, via Geography and MFL, but they all share a commitment to implementing verbal feedback techniques that aim to improve outcomes for their students. We also hope that this area of work will positively impact on teacher workload. Each teacher-researcher is currently working with a Year 7 or Year 8 class and using verbal feedback techniques that reflect their classroom style, the needs of their students and subject area. Techniques used include teacher modelling, whole class feedback, and coaching.
Early signs are encouraging, with one teacher reporting that a focus on verbal feedback has led to more time planning and less time marking, which has subsequently changed the nature of her lessons. Teachers are also reporting that relationships with students are beginning to change because they are now spending more time engaging in one-to-one conversations.
It’s important to recognise that participating in a research project whilst teaching full-time is not without a time cost and that teachers are spending time gathering evidence, recording the use of verbal feedback techniques and reflecting on their impact for the purposes of evaluation. We are fortunate to be working with a committed group of professionals who not only want to improve their own practice but also make a contribution to the wider verbal feedback research base and support teachers across the sector.
When will the research be published?
UCL’s Verbal Feedback Project will conclude in July 2019, and project outputs will include an impact evaluation and toolkit for teachers. If you are interested in learning more about the project, would like to speak with the teachers involved, or hear from our project facilitators, we will be hosting a special event in September 2019 at the UCL Institute of Education. To register your interest in attending please complete the online form to receive further details.
This post was written by Carly Sandy, a former secondary school teacher who currently works as a Senior Access Officer at University College London (UCL). Carly manages the Verbal Feedback Project on behalf of UCL’s Access and Widening Participation Office.
- Verbal Feedback as applied according to the professional judgement of different teachers working in different contexts.
- **Engagement as defined as: ‘Written, non-verbal and verbal responses from students that demonstrate their active involvement in their learning.’
- ***Disadvantaged as defined by the UCL Access and Widening Participation Office )
- The full research question is: To what extent does verbal feedback, implemented over two terms improve student engagement among disadvantaged pupils in Year 7 or 8?