Austin’s Butterfly

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Ron Berger from EL Education suggests that we often settle for lower quality work from students because we underestimate the capacity of students to respond to feedback and support. 

In this video Berger tells the story of Austin, a First Grade student who was asked to do a scientific drawing of a butterfly based on a photo. His initial drawing was very simple and he was encouraged to look at the photo again  'like a scientistic’. As well as being encouraged to have an increased focus on the detail he could see Austin was also given feedback from his peers to help him recognise how he might reflect this detail in his drawing.  Over several drafts, and with continued critique from his peers, Austin was able to draw a realistic drawing of the butterfly that is almost unrecognisable compared to the first draft. 

This video is useful to show to students to help them understand how feedback is a positive thing which can help us progress. It helps them understand the value of feedback they are given in school, along with helping them engage with it. It also helps students understand how they can support others through peer feedback. The emphasis on focusing on specific feedback, along with the process of redrafting and practising is also a useful reminder about the importance of perseverance.


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