Almost there, nearly, not quite, not yet, close. How many ways can you think of to say that a child hasn’t achieved what they have attempted? If it is the adult making the judgement, phrased wrongly, or said with the wrong inflection, it might just have well been “wrong”.
Not yet implies to me seeking to achieve something, an agreed improvement to one’s personal best, a term that I’d want to use alongside yet, so that the yet judgement is a co-creation activity, with the child able to identify the gap between their current achievement and their future aspiration. However we may wish to wrap it up, it has to be linked to a target of some sort, the easiest being a descriptive narrative, with staging posts.
A recent post used the analogy of mountaineering to explore the notion of risk in learning. The same analogy can be applied to progress description, with different “camps” being the destination for different phases of the climb, with each climb described in visual and narrative forms. The climbers need to be able to “see” where they are going, so that they can make appropriate decisions en route. The same applies to learners.
Some school systems require children to demonstrate a skill several times before they are said to have that capability. To me this could be seen as a misuse of the “not yet” idea and could cause some learners to reduce effort.
I see significant potential in the term “at least” to drive effort during the available time. This can be differentiated to the known needs of the class and their previous efforts. If the learners are faced with a page of equations, to be asked to aim for “at least” 75% of the equations might be a reasonable bottom line expectation, while in written work, “at least” 10 sentences might be appropriate, in a 20 minute period. Of course expectation can be tweaked for individuals. Within the exercise expectation, using personal targets, on a flip out sheet, provides the learner with their own additional individualised expectation.
Going back to the climbing analogy again; for a child to have a clear view of the challenge ahead, to prepare themselves for the effort involved, to have a go and see how far they get, enables them to take charge of subsequent decisions. It should not be for the teacher to say “not yet”, but to support the child in visualising what they need to do next in order to succeed. That way children become more self-reliant learners, embedding skills which they can apply elsewhere, knowing that their effort in finding solutions can pay off.
Children learn from each other, watching what another is doing and “having a go”. Any parent with children of different ages will be aware of the younger child’s attempts to keep up with their older, more able sibling. Emulating is an important aspect of learning.
Empower rather than disempower.