From passive to active students: let's adopt the work plan

Dominique Bernier and Marie-Andrée Arsenault are both Secondary 1 teachers at Collège Saint-Hilaire. They have adopted the work plan as a teaching strategy with their students. They shared their experience (and some tips!) during a workshop presented at the AQUOPS conference.

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Dominique Bernier and Marie-Andrée Arsenault are both Secondary 1 teachers at Collège Saint-Hilaire. They have adopted the work plan as a teaching strategy with their students. They shared their experience (and some tips!) during a workshop presented at the AQUOPS conference.

"The work plan allows for quick bridges between what is explained and how the student can apply it concretely. It allows for connections to be made between the different elements taught, while accumulating a multitude of records of student progress," the two teachers explained at the beginning of the workshop. 

The two teachers during their workshop presented at the 40th AQUOPS conference.

In order to prepare their work plans, they do a backward planning of the objectives to be achieved. They then segment the tasks by sequence to prepare the plans. 

Among the advice they give to teachers who want to adopt this approach, here are three:

  • Don't reinvent the wheel
  • Accept that it is imperfect
  • Rethink your relationship to evaluation

With high school students

Although the work plan is often associated with elementary school, they confirmed that this strategy works very well with high school students. "They look forward to working in work plans!" 

According to them, thanks to its use, the students develop their autonomy and quickly engage in their learning. They particularly appreciate being able to choose the order of the tasks to be completed and even the tasks themselves in some cases, the fact that they can progress at their own pace, and the fact that they have bonus activities to complete. Finally, this type of strategy greatly facilitates follow-up with students who must be absent. 

In order to prepare their work plans, they use different technological tools such as Padlet, Canva, Genially, PowerPoint, Google Slides. They presented different examples that teachers can reuse and customize.

The different ways of using the work surface

The work surface can be used in different contexts that they presented during their workshop.

For a course

  • Helps implement a routine at any level;
  • Allows the majority of the class to work individually while the teacher focuses on struggling learners;
  • Make sense of a lesson by linking it to a theme or intention;
  • A short questionnaire can be used at the end of the period, like an exit ticket, to testify to what has been learned.

For a cycle or for a month

  • Gives students an overview of the path and steps to take by putting everything in one place;
  • Offers the teacher the possibility of integrating different sequences to work on various skills in parallel (several work plans can then be interwoven);
  • It may be a good idea to provide answer keys during the sequence so that students have feedback.

For a project

  • Allows you to easily present the tasks to be carried out as a team;
  • Helps students share tasks;
  • Provides a reassuring framework for students who are more anxious during team work;
  • Facilitates the follow-up of parents who want to get involved at home to supervise their child.

For a substitute

  • Facilitates the transmission of instructions to substitutes and students;
  • Engages students during substitute periods by giving them task choices and options;
  • Simplifies class management for substitutes as students are engaged.

For a review

  • Provides a variety of leads and resources for students and their parents to get involved (quick reference to important material to review);
  • Can be used in the classroom as well as at home. Review tasks can be repeated several times;
  • Leads some youth to transfer their learning by creating games to review.

During their workshop presented at the AQUOPS conference, Dominique and Marie-Andrée had even made a work plan for participants who in turn had to create one for their students. This strategy can be used in many ways!

The presentation, made with Genially, is available to all.

For further : 

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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