Auckland Intermediate teacher Jo Hilario has created a YouTube channel called Buzzword Bingo dedicated to explaining teacher jargon in two-minute videos.
“I thought ‘Why are the people [parents] who care the most about these kids not provided with easier ways to understand their child’s progress and achievement [i.e. levels, stanines, reports]?’” she says.
So with reports around the corner and the recent abolition of National Standards, Jo made a YouTube channel. Her first three subjects are:
- Curriculum Levels (NZ Primary) Explained in Two Minutes
- Overall Teacher Judgments (NZ Primary) Explained in Two Minutes
- PATs, Stanines, and Scale Scores (NZ Primary) Explained in Two Minutes
Jo is in her fourth year of teaching at intermediate level and says this year’s batch of parents have been quite honest.
“There’s usually a few who ask a lot of questions but at this year’s conferences I found a lot of the parents really wanted to get into the report as soon as possible. They would ask a lot of questions about what different assessments in their children’s reports mean.”
As there is only so much that can be explained in 10 minutes, Jo looked into getting all the parents into the class to explain report markings but parents are busy and that was just not possible.
“So I decided to make videos short and to the point, and accessible from anywhere to make students’ progress and learning as easy to understand as possible.”
She did a lot of research initially.
“Key to YouTube channel success is having your niche and I needed to know if there was something out there online already describing to parents in simple language things going on in the New Zealand education system.”
It is a problem for everyone, if parents don’t understand the ways schools assess their students, explains Jo.
“Steven D. Levitt said: “The conventional wisdom is often wrong.” By knowing the truth about their child’s learning progress, parents can spend more time on the things that matter and will accelerate learning -instead of spending time on ‘conventional wisdom’ [generally accepted theories or beliefs].”
Jo says it is important that parents and whānau understand teacher speak and how reports are written.
“We are all responsible for the education of children in our care. Yes, we are educators but parents were the child’s first teachers. If everyone understands the actions they need to take in order to advance the child’s academic growth, altogether we can support the learning that is taking place.”
Feedback has been positive from her students’ parents, colleagues and fellow teachers on the New Zealand Primary Teachers Facebook page.
“My first video [OTJs explained] received over one thousand views in less than 24 hours!”
To visit Jo’s YouTube channel click here.