Can mini whiteboards be used to help promote independent learning and overcome that fear of getting it wrong?
I have always used mini whiteboards in my teaching but had found that I had begun to use them less and less due to the time needed to distribute and collect them in and also the inevitable time lost to doodling and the use of the white board as a musical instrument! This disappointed me as I know they can be a really useful tool, so I decided to hopefully remove their novelty by simply having them out on the desks as a permanent resource to be used as and when needed by pupils. To my pleasant surprise it worked and with the exception of a few individuals, I have found that pupils have embraced the idea.
So how can they be used?
A lot of pupils have a fear of getting the answer wrong or “making a mess of their notes” which stops them from putting pen to paper and in turn stops them from learning from their mistakes. Giving these pupils the option to write the answer down on the whiteboard first has really helped to give these pupils the confidence to have a go rather than waiting for the answer to be given to them. These notes can then be checked and redrafted before being written permanently in their books.
The white boards have also been particularly useful in planning longer answers. Pupils can use the boards to draft out their plans and can easily amend/reorder their work before their start putting pen to paper.
Because the whiteboards are out on the desks each lesson they can be used with minimal planning and spontaneously when the need arrives. If I am circulating the room and get asked questions, it is great to be able to use them to draw diagrams to help with my explanations, and as a bonus no paper is wasted! They can also be used for pupils to practice spellings or can be used for quick starter/plenary games of bingo and true or false or to assess prior knowledge. The possibilities are endless!
I am all in favour of small tweaks that can make my teaching as effective as possible but take very little time to plan and these will definitely be a permanent fixture of my classroom going forward.