What is SOLO?
How is SOLO different to Bloom’s?
How can SOLO be used to support learning progression?
As the sun rose on Glasgow’s Easy Hotel (recommended) this Sunday, my enthusiasm for my profession was as high as it has ever been and I remain full of excitement today! What a wonderful first ever Pedagoo Fringe! The atmosphere was amazing, the venue was amazing but above all the people who both organised and attended the event were and are amazing! In our reflection session we agreed to go forward and infect others with our enthusiasm and I certainly intend to do just that.
How could you not be inspired by this space?
Here is a brief overview of the discussion in the SOLO workshop and how we went about answering the above questions. We began by looking at what Bloom’sTaxonomy looks like in practice. As pupils gather knowledge and comprehension, much like the uni and multi levels of SOLO, they are gathering ideas on a topic (illustrated in the Macbeth example below). Application is using the ideas you have gathered in a task such as writing an essay on the topic. However, once you began to move on to analysis, you were once again gathering knowledge and then returning to applying that knowledge while synthesising.
The verbs and structure of Bloom’s Taxonomy are useful and can be organised into effective learning outcomes and effective questions by teachers (explained on the day in another workshop help by @GarethSurgey. Fantastic for us but not so easy for pupils to grasp.
Very Basically Bloom
SOLO is different as the steps are a far clearer path of progression for pupils. A number of people asked if pupils were put off by the terminology which, upon first hearing, appears to be a little space age. In my experience, pupils appear proud to be using the terms rather than put off. SOLO is to them something a little different but something they quickly get used to using. It creates a common learning language.
Anyone had this? I haven’t!!
One group discussed how the terminology is not important. It is the clear progression path that pupils can follow and understand that is the key to using SOLO successfully. Some people said they wouldn’t use the terms but would use the hand signals and symbols (particularly in primary schools). Others suggested allowing pupils to make up their own words for the symbols to give pupils ownership over using them.
Each level in a very basic nutshell
After sharing how my classes used SOLO in differentiated tasks and to become independent in their progression (found here) the worry over how much extra time would be spent planning using SOLO was expressed. Note that the example below seems to say that EA is the final level as though there is a roof that can be reached. This is not the case. You can never be at the top of EA as you gather more Multi knowledge, you continue to make new connections. Thanks David Didau a very good point well made.
Moving on up
Marking time is significantly reduced without removing any of the quality in the feedback. I can read the work and apply the symbol that best describes their current position – they do the rest. Also, once you have your head around each of the levels, it just becomes part of what you do and therefore time spent planning is just the same as before.
I also shared some generic examples of how this might really look and sound. Here is just one of these examples:
Example of SOLO in Generic Lesson
Pupils have been asked to create a presentation all about shoes. The teacher has asked for feedback and receives varied responses. Have a look at how the teacher uses SOLO to help each pupil to make more progress in this lesson.
As this means the pupil has missed the point there are no action verbs to accompany this stage
A PUPIL MIGHT SAY: “I know nothing about the topic; I have never heard of it before.“
AN EXAMPLE RESPONSE MIGHT LOOK LIKE: Shoes are worn on your hands.
TO MOVE ON: The pupil must begin to gather basic information on what a shoe is.
A TEACHER MAY ASK FOR THE OUTCOME Name, Identify, Follow simple procedure
A PUPIL MIGHT SAY: “I know a little about the topic but I have not done much research.”
AN EXAMPLE RESPONSE MIGHT LOOK LIKE: Shoes are worn on your feet.
TO MOVE ON: To become more multistructural in their response, the student must conduct research into types of shoes and their different purposes.
A TEACHER MAY ASK FOR THE OUTCOME Combine, Enumerate, Describe, List
A PUPIL MIGHT SAY: “I know lots of different brands of shoes, types of shoes and their different purposes.”
AN EXAMPLE RESPONSE MIGHT LOOK LIKE: Shoes can be worn to exercise, to dance, for comfort, for style. Different types of shoes include, stilettoes, trainers, pumps, wedges. Different shoes were popular at different times.
TO MOVE ON: The pupil must begin to make links between the information they have found about different types of shoes, their purposes and when they were popular.
A TEACHER MAY ASK FOR THE OUTCOME Analyse, Criticise, Apply, Justify, Argue, Relate, Compare/contrast, Explain causes A PUPIL MIGHT SAY
“I have an excellent understanding of shoes and their purposes; I can see how modern shoes have evolved from a range of styles throughout the ages.”
AN EXAMPLE RESPONSE MIGHT LOOK LIKE: Trainers are the most effective shoe to wear for exercise. This is a direct result of using a softer sole and adjustable straps to aid foot support. In contrast to this, a modern platform is more often used for style, having evolved somewhat since its first introduction to the high fashion scene in 1960…
TO MOVE ON: The pupil must begin to question further their findings. They should use their expert knowledge to create interesting and individual ideas about the future of shoes.
A TEACHER MAY ASK FOR THE OUTCOME Create, Formulate, Generate,Hypothesise, Reflect, Theorise
A PUPIL MIGHT SAY: “I am very confident in my exploration of shoes. I can use my expert knowledge about their evolution to theorise about the possible future of shoes and their uses.“
AN EXAMPLE RESPONSE MIGHT LOOK LIKE: The platform rose to the height of fashion in 1960 and evolved over time to become far more sleek in its appearance. Similarly, the humble trainer began as rather a crude creation with the simple idea of comfort at its heart. Indeed, over time shoes continue to evolve and adapt to become sleeker, more appealing and above all far more ergonomically designed. Could the future hold a pair of stilettoes that actually shape your arches instead of destroying them? Let us look to the history of stilettoes to investigate this idea further…
TO MOVE ON: The pupil should never see their work as done and should always seek out new ways to apply their learning.
A powerful idea that was born from the discussion that followed was that pupils need to have a mirror held up to them to allow them to understand the learning processes that we all go through as human beings. SOLO helps this to happen as the pupils can see how one stage is necessary before another begins. Learning should not be “done” to anyone; that includes teachers! CPD should not be “done” to teachers…a thought I am taking back home to England!
To reflect on the initial three questions, we used the superb meeting room space and wrote all over the walls with our thoughts:
I would love to hear how everyone takes SOLO forward and cannot thank the Pedagoo team enough for inviting me to such an awesome event.