Exit Questions give you an impression of the students who are inclined to repeat the content of the lesson, and those who wish to take it further. An esteemed colleague, now Deputy Head, introduced me to how they can be effectively managed, both pragmatically (allowing token rewards to the type of answer) and pedagogically (varying the type of replies on a conceptual basis).

I was struck recently by how the exit questions seems to allow a little more time for students to answer: they can think for at least a minute whilst they wait to leave, and are inspired by hearing other answers. When they speak, some student urge to elaborate their answers in a pleasingly precise way. With this, then, I felt that if the students could return to what they had said before, then they could reinforce their knowledge by some of the more stimulated efforts of their peers. To do this I needed to record their answers.

Various recording options were available to me. High quality recorders (such as Android’s Sound Recorder) were ideal. However, they weren’t so great for syncing and showing on my computer. Evernote has far superior syncing options, but the quality of the recording is poor (in order to save on file save space). The solution? Hand a phone to the first student to answer a question, which is then passed onto the next student in line. This way, the quality of the recording is improved as they speak directly into the mike.

From this, the recording is given a name relating to the lesson. The time and date is saved. However, this is not the most vital part. At this point I add a reminder for the morning I firm up that day’s lessons (7:25am usually). This reminder means that I can place onto my student documents a link to my Evernote account which automatically has the audio recording. This requires about 30-45 seconds of administration on my part – something I feel is essential to embed such practice realistically.

When the lesson starts, I make the criteria to judging the exit questions explicit (which answer is the most controversial/unusual/clear/memorable/related to this character etc). From this, I am able to play, with clarity, the exit questions from the previous lesson.

Is this gimmicky? Perhaps, in the way that it is novel. However, I have embedded the notion of activating previous knowledge in my lessons, and this is an explicit way of valuing this. If nothing else, the students are able to recognise that what they learned yesterday was of lasting value, and something of which they were able to return to. It is also useful for me, as a teacher, to save this useful formative data and compare across time with the same questions. Again, Evernote comes to the rescue here with its organised notebooks and timestamps.

Something to build on more in the future maybe?