Friday, 4 July 2014

Ready to Roll!

I had an informal meeting with two of the girls in my form today, where I shared with them my hopes for next year. I started by telling them about what I'm currently work on for my Masters and asked them if they knew what a thesis was. They didn't, so I gave them a brief explanation, letting them know that my focus is going to be on student perception of feedback. I then explained how, in my research so far, I've found that few people have consulted the pupils themselves, especially at the secondary level, on how they feel about feedback, to which they expressed shock. I then told them about how I worried that if I conducted the interviews myself, students wouldn't be as honest with me; my presence may influence their responses. They agreed that this would probably be the case, and seemed quite keen to help without my even asking! Therefore, I proposed that the join me as 'research partners' or 'consultants' for the project.

I must admit, I tried to outline all that they would 'gain' from the project in an attempt to sway their opinion; they were especially keen on being able to write in 6th Form applications that they were research partners for a University of Cambridge study - both got visibly excited at the prospect of being able to add such a title to their CV.

We then starting talking about the types of questions I would ask, and they agreed that some re-wording might be necessary to make the questions more accessible to other students. I'm going to meet with them next week to change some questions in preparation for their pilot-before-the-pilot interview with a year 7 student. I may also show them some of my initial interview footage, alongside a page of 'Do's and Don'ts' that I obtained from a Flutter and Rudduck book on consulting pupils (I can't include the specific reference now, as the book is at home, but will do so later). We can then work through my weak areas as well as explore the things I did well, so that they have a better understanding of what a good research interview looks like.

I was really pleased at how enthusiastic they were to be joining me. They really seemed to like the idea of working with me as research partners; they got very energetic as our conversation progressed, and I know they're going to give me lots of ideas and help when the project really kicks off. I was very careful not to use the word 'use' at any point in our conversation. I kept trying to say things like 'work together', 'we' and 'our'. I explained how they'd help me ensure my transcription of the interviews was correct, as well as helping me to generate codes (one of the girls said 'You mean, analyse the conversation, right?', which was nice, because it shows me that they're at least vaguely aware of how the project will work, prior to my even giving them any formal training). I'm hoping that the work won't impact on any of their class time, or personal time after school; my hope is that we can use form time to meet and discuss our findings, or perhaps they might be willing to give me some break or lunch times at random points throughout the year.

Basically, it was a really productive and positive meeting. I am really excited at the prospect of working with the students. I can't wait to get started fully next year!