Pupil Queue

Who is it for?
This is relevant to all teachers of practical subjects who spend much of their lesson time rotating around the class assisting individual pupils.
Outline of idea
I had two Yr 9 classes who were starting to learn an entirely new program and set of concepts to do with programming (Computer Science).  We had decided, as a class, that we would prefer to work through some on-screen tutorials at our own pace rather than be stifled by whole class teaching.  This would allow pupils to work at their own pace, and access individual help from the teacher when they needed it.

The problem would arise if pupils had to sit with their hands in the air waiting for help from the teacher – how would the teacher prioritise or order their assistance?

I outlined an idea of queuing by pupils writing their name on the whiteboard if they wanted help.  We discussed rules:

  • Pupils would write their name under the last person (no cheating by writing your name at the top!)
  • Pupils who solve their problem before the teacher reached them would rub off their name
  • Teacher would go to pupils in strict order from the board, to be fair

Whilst waiting for help on one issue, pupils would continue working on other aspects of the work (no ‘down time’)
How it worked out
Both classes embraced the idea fully and it worked extremely well.
It was perceived by pupils as ‘fair’.
It encouraged pupils to continue working, as they weren’t sat with their hands in the air while waiting for the teacher.
Pupils enjoyed writing on the board!
Next steps
With some classes who wish to access assistance less publicly I would tailor this idea so that pupils can send me an email with the subject line ‘Help’ and I can still work through in order – however this would not be so transparent to pupils and so the perceived fairness will be less apparent.