Another few lessons into the Politics inquiry, and I am increasingly impressed by the quality of the Express stage. It is testament to the work done during the Connect, Wonder, and Investigate phases that the debates this week have been so informative, critical and demanding. Students made effective use of the blue Construct sheet to plan in analysis that was then implemented during the debates. With only limited guidance from me, students generated impressive back-and-forth arguments. In some cases, I essentially faded into the background as debaters collaboratively ‘argumentatively taught’ the class!
Prior to the debates, students were only provided with two instructions; their pressure group name and the investigative focus (how successful has their assigned pressure group been?). At the beginning of each debate, I then assigned a student to each side of the debate (successful/unsuccessful). Each side would be allowed a one minute opening and closing speech, with the central part of the debate left to students to unpick the different criterion affecting pressure group success from their opposing perspectives. Those who had best-utilised their Construct sheets found this uncertainly in viewpoint easy to handle, as they had already preempted the analysis required to win the debate at the Construct stage.
Students clearly appreciate the FOSIL resources on various levels, not only in their utility in ‘winning’ the debate. The planning sheets also allow the accumulation of relevant and accurate knowledge, vital in the exam. More important, though, is the AO2 Analysis demanded at A Level, which students have now practised on paper and verbally. FOSIL is proving highly effective in tying together inquiry with the assessment objectives of the course.