Today, I used the Traffic Lights to ask the students to assess themselves after having spent a few days learning about some concepts. The feedback will guide my actions tomorrow; that is to say, if enough students have indicated that they are ‘feeling yellow’ (= “I think I understand but I need a little support”) then I have a clear path to re-address that particular topic tomorrow.
Once I have revisited that ‘yellow’ topic, then I will ask students to assess themselves again by asking “Are you still feeling yellow or are you now feeling green?”
Specifically, my Grade 12 College English students are exploring the concept of the 4 Types of Nonfiction: Expository, Narrative, Descriptive, and Persuasive. After a few days of learning the definitions, looking at examples and creating examples, some students still were not able to identify and explain the Expository Style with total accuracy.
I find that the power of the Traffic Light can be found in that type of moment: if I take the time to pause and ask the students to reflect on their level of understanding, I am requiring that they be reflective about their own learning, which can be a very powerful exercise; I am giving them input into their learning ‘journey’, which can be very empowering for students; and I am demonstrating that I am listening to what they have to say and to their concerns, and I am hopefully modelling the idea that I want them to be partners in their own education.