High Quality Work for Authentic Audiences
When students know they will share their work with an audience beyond the classroom, they are motivated to make it high quality. The best exhibitions showcase work that has required students to think critically, problem solve, and revise through multiple drafts. Exhibitions are a great way to share student writing, art work, performances, debates, experiments, engineering projects, mock trials, podcasts, or videos.
Exhibitions put students center stage as they describe the process and products of their learning. Like a sports event or performance, they bring families and community members together to celebrate the collective work of a class, a team, a school. But with exhibitions, the community is taking pride in students’ academic learning.
Exhibitions set the expectation that all students, not just a select group, are capable of producing high-quality work and will share that work with people beyond their classroom. They motivate all students to do their best, so they can stand proudly beside their work.
An important outcome of inviting parents and community members into school, is that they can sense the agency of its students. When students know from the inception of a project that they will be sharing it with an authentic audience, they feel excited and driven. Inviting a real audience into school to witness student work brings a sense of purpose to the students. After all, it’s exhilarating to talk about your thinking, your successes and challenges with real humans; most kids are used to just sharing with the teacher. Bringing an audience into school can create motivation within students to shine and do their best. It allows kids to feel important and that people care about their work. Exhibition Evening has high accountability but also provides an opportunity for powerful whānau feedback to occur, and that can be the best time and place for families to hear the pride in their student’s voice.