The way we display student work reflects how we value student effort and achievement. Displays also serve as important tools in developing learning environments that enrich and support student learning.
Valuing a Growth Mindset
Research by Prof Carol Dweck at Stanford University into student psychology demonstrates that students with a growth mindset are more resilient, confident, focused and independent learners. Therefore, when recognising student effort and achievement, it helps to adopt values consistent with a growth mindset. Some ways to foster a growth mindset include (see article):
- Differentiated feedback based on individual effort, not making comparisons between work produced by students in the class; and
- Avoid praising students for their intelligence. Praising intelligence does not improve confidence or motivation. Instead emphasise the processes that have benefited the student and those which will improve learning in the future.
Learning environments as memories of learning
Making learning visible has long been the approach in Reggio Emilia pedagogy and is being championed by the likes of Harvard's Project Zero. It involves using documentation to extend and deepen student learning and to create strong learning cultures in schools.
Making learning visible is about documenting process as well as outcome. The entire learning journey, with its challenges and changes, is part of the documentation. Then reflecting this learning back to students in an engaging, interactive way. That's where displays come in.
Collation versus Curation
When it comes to displaying student work there are two ways to go about it, collation or curation. Collation involves collecting one piece of work from every student for a given task. Curation involves selecting work from a range of students and tasks within a given cohort according to a chosen theme. The distinction is illustrated in the following images: