Progress Champions – getting students to talk about progress in your lessons

Jim Smith’s new book, Follow me I am RIght Behind You, a follow up from his magnificent The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook, give a sharp and realistic focus upon highlighting progress in lessons. A real hot topic with the new OFSTED framework. One idea from this new book I have already tried and with a significant impact is the Progress Paparazzi on page 28. Here, Jim Smith advocates nominating students as Progress Paparazzi. These students are given the task to be on the lookout for students who are making good progress, contributing to lessons or learning or thinking creatively. Once these are identified then the students chosen can be rewarded. Smith extends this to having visitors coming into the classroom to award discretionary awards.

The outcome of this strategy is to build collaborative trust and enhanced ownership of learning as well as highlighting progress and for students to have and enhanced understanding of what progress actually is which of course plays right into the outstanding criteria of an OFSTED lesson inspection.

Taking this idea on, I have aimed to adopt this strategy in every lesson in Key Stages 3 and 4. I was able to have printed ‘Progress Champion’ stickers and these are awarded by me at the end of every lesson with the reason why they have been awarded clearly stated. The students who have been awarded a sticker places it at the end of the their work for that lesson and has to write the reason why they have been awarded it beside the sticker which I then sign, date and record on the school’s behaviour record under achievement.

This been extended to having our Acting Headteacher visit my Year 10 class and, given the objective of the lesson, look at all the students work and award Progress Champion stickers as well as a Senior Pastoral Manager visit the Year 7 form she is responsible for and awarding stickers. This has enhanced the motivation of my students as well as that they are beginning to talk about progress much more explicitly and positively. The next stage is to get the students themselves to award ‘Progress Champion’ Stickers, which I intend to do over the next week or two. I decided to wait until they are used to Progress Champion stickers and seen how they work and what they are awarded for before giving them the responsibility of awarding them. Alongside this, I have had Progress Paparazzi Pass’ stickers made up for students who are asked to look out and award Progress Champions. These will work like the Progress Champion stickers in that these will be stuck into exercise books and the student will write down what progress they were looking for in others in that lesson.

This strategy is the Lazy Way at its best and once it is up and running not only encourages students to talk about progress naturally and confidently in every lesson – which is the most important outcome here – but also the stickers in the exercise book help to signpost progress clearly and explicitly if an OFSTED inspector examines a set of your exercise books.


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