My Journey: Student Teachers’ Self-Assessment with Cards for Democracy
Written by Guðrún Ragnarsdóttir
My first experience of using a set of Cards for Democracy was really good. The cards made our session and our discussion richer and deeper. Let me describe the activity designed around a letter that I had asked my student teachers in natural sciences to write to themselves at the beginning of the course.
The aim of the activity was to:
- Assess students’ learning process and learning outcome;
- Encourage self-assessment;
- Enable students to write an action plan for their own personal and professional growth.
When I first met my students in the Autumn of 2017, I asked them to write a letter to themselves about the kind of teacher they wanted to become. They placed their letters in an envelope and I collected the letters and kept them in my office.
At the beginning of the last class (Spring 2018) I distributed the letters and A3 sheets of paper with three human silhouettes drawn on them (see below). Then I asked my students to read the letters they had written almost a year earlier and to collect keywords from the letter. I invited them to write the keywords around or inside the first figure on the A3 paper (under “The beginning of my journey”). They then evaluated their current status using the same keywords and some new ones. They placed these around the second figure on the poster (“The status today”). Finally, they were asked to identify relevant keywords or statements and to place these around the third figure, representing the future (“What I want to become”).
Then I asked them to distribute the Cards for Democracy amongst themselves and to select cards that could support their development as identified in the third figure. I asked them to write the text from each card identified on the same A3 paper using a different colour. Then students took turns to describe their journey and gave arguments for the cards they had selected.
Cards for Democracy for All are a set of 60 cards developed by Learn to Change.
They are intended for individuals, on their own and in groups, to reflect on their intention, and nurture a disposition to examine and improve their attitudes, skills, knowledge and understanding to better contribute to creating democratic spaces and for co-constructing a more just and happy society.
Click here or on the picture to download your set for free!
In the end, I asked my students to create an action plan on how they can reach their desired aim to become the best teacher they can be. First, they drew their hand on the back side of the A3 sheet of paper and in the palm of the hand they were asked to write down their aim…
- My aim is to . . .
In each finger they were asked to write five possible routes to their aim and in the fingertips, the time it would take them to get there.
After that the students were asked to share their ideas.
The activity went smoothly, and it was particularly rewarding to use the cards and discuss the meaning behind the statements in depth and see how the students engaged in deep conversation about the content of the cards. The cards made the activity even more meaningful.