Feedback on, and from, students

Maybe it’s the medication (I’ve been home sick for two days) but I have all sorts of teaching and learning ideas spinning around in my head. Here are some thoughts as we end report-writing season. Prior to writing 60-odd end of year reports for my Y7 and 8 students, I asked them to fill in a Google Form which asked them to reflect on a number of qns about the year. These questions were, roughly

  • what did you enjoy learning this year?
  • what did you find hard this year?
  • what did you find easy this year?
  • what could you improve?
  • to what extent do you like working independently?
  • to what extent do you like working collaboratively?
  • what could I do as a teacher to help you improve more effectively?

I encouraged students to be really honest but kind, both about themselves and about my approaches to teaching and learning. The responses were varied and detailed and told me a huge amount about the way these children perceived their personal strengths and challenges, as well as the way I had set up their learning. All questions provided me with answers that confirmed or challenged my perceptions,  provided rich details that I could mention in my written reports, and enabled me to reflect on which of my teaching and learning approaches were most/least welcomed, and why.

I found out that the students had overwhelmingly enjoyed the collaborative classroom I set up and stuck with all year (small mixed -ability teams sitting in groups with Spanish animal name identities such as Pumas, Lobos, Tiburones etc) All games, quizzes and probably 80% of all classroom activities were collaborative in nature, even helping each other write the date accurately, reminding teammates to remember headphones etc, so there was great evidence for me to comment in their reports whether they had been leaders, passengers, mentors etc in this environment. It was encouraging that some students referred to participation/collaboration as a help or as an improvement goal, without any prompting from me.

I also found out that some students do like still like good old harm reminding myself to keep learning blended! I definitely did fewer songs this year, that’s something for me to work back in, too.

Lastly, it was good to get a reminder that we need to take more risks as teachers planning curriculum content, clearly, not all 12 year olds find learning pencil case items thrilling.

I have done this kind of feedback form before..have you done something similar? How do you think it could be improved? I had a thought of starting next year with a similar survey, to find out how students perceive themselves in these areas, learning styles etc to use as a benchmark, then compare how they change over the year. 

Time for a nap now.



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