About a year ago, I wrote 2 blog posts about the system I used as a classroom teacher to gather some very important feedback and data from my students.
The Quest for BETTER
Just Ask the Students
I gained valuable insights through this solicited and honest feedback from my students including their perception (REALITY) of their experiences in my classroom. Both the positive and negative comments provided an opportunity for me to grow as an educator. It was not a complicated formula. I felt good about the positive comments providing me encouragement to find more ways to allow students to learn in that particular way. Similarly, the negative comments made me take note and take action. My goal was to find ways to address what all students liked least. After all, these are the students who are often bored or not connected with school. These are the students who we need to reach and provide the best possible learning experience. What kind of educational, learning, and memorable experiences are we creating for our students?
(@burgessdave and @burgess_shelley)
How do you gather feedback about your students' experiences in your classroom each year? Just ask your students. Here are 2 easy ways:
1) Use paper or a Google Form and have students respond to the following:
1. What did you like LEAST about this class? Be specific.
2. What did you like BEST about this class? Be specific.
Analyze patterns and frequency of what the students liked best and least about your class. What can you do differently? Reach out to other educators for input. Start somewhere and act on the “least” list because your students are telling you something.
2) Have students write down 5 words or have them enter into a Google Form to describe how they felt during their time in your class. Input the words into a word cloud. What do you see? Is that what you expected? What words stand out? What words would you want students to use to describe your class? Write down those words and devise a plan to make it happen. (credit @MrMatera via @burgessdave)
Encourage your school, grade level, department, and curriculum area colleagues to do the same, then share and compare your results. How transparent do you want to be? Maybe you could blog about your results. Be proud of the positives and plan to address the negatives.
What are you afraid of? Even our worst critics are trying to tell us something. Are we going to ignore our critics and our most important customers (STUDENTS) or are we going to take to heart and act on what our students have to say? It is all part of our journey to become better educators. Don’t wait!