Gathering feedback from students to help determine the effectiveness of your teaching methods may be the most valuable information you can obtain throughout your teaching career.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. As a teacher, your influence over students weighs more in their formation than any other in-school factor. Everything here is dynamical: you adapt teaching methods to children’s level of understanding, and children shape their behavior depending on your reactions. This is why it’s vital to gather timely feedback from your own students over your class performance, to learn if you need to make any adjustments in order to be an ever better educator who exceeds expectations.
How to choose the proper feedback method? Your students’ age group will tell. During elementary and middle school, it’s best to note children’s achievement gains and also ask the parents for feedback in frictionless ways such as through online appraisal forms. High school students can be approached directly to provide insights over classes they attend (and often will do so on their own anyway).
Comprehensive and engaging feedback over your teaching is easy to collect if you have the proper tools at hand. Sometimes, all you need is a pen and a piece of paper; other times it’s even simpler. Here are the main three feedback methods you can use with your students and some tips to carry them successfully.
It basically means recording the types of behaviors that occur in your classroom and drawing a conclusion over the patterns or extraordinary events. This quantitative method of assessing your students’ reactions to your teaching is useful at any grade. To standardize your recordings, you can use rating scales, checklists, charts and even narrative descriptions. And above all, try to be a good listener!
- Student surveys
These are great ways to gather feedback from your students in an organized fashion. You can use in-class feedback forms after one unit ends, online surveys that students can fill in at home under confidentiality, or small group analysis which implies an operator that works with groups of 2-5 students in collecting their feedback.
Filling in a student survey is a great exercise to encourage children’s critical spirit and gives them the refreshing feeling that their opinion is valued. Using a web tool such as 123ContactForm, you can create your own student surveys online with no effort, and then share them with the intended persons. You can include text boxes to let students type their thoughts, or choice fields to give them answer options.
- Achievement gains
The results of your students at current evaluations are a direct indicative of your performance as a teacher. Standardized testing is just one side of the coin, and we should look further than that. To receive feedback from all angles, it’s a good idea to combine traditional grading with the call for students to fill in surveys for assessing learning gains from their own point of view. Students get grades, the teacher gets ratings and everybody works together to boost the learning process.
Keep in mind that feedback is a continuous flow that you should be aware of at any time, not just on occasions when you organize special appraisal sessions. Here are our recommendations to streamline the whole course of feedback.
Pose no bias. Feedback will rarely be entirely positive or entirely negative; you should be prepared for some noise in-between. Make sure you don’t transmit unwitting “suggestions” on what types of responses you expect, as it can ruin the objectivity of your research.
It’s about teaching, not the teacher. Personal questions open the gates for individual value judgments, which aren’t quite useful for you. Even though older students can be asked what they find helpful or disturbing in their teacher’s presence (e.g. tone of voice, movement in the classroom), you will always receive more relevant feedback if you relate to the content of lessons.
Watch for the bread crumbs. This means feedback that naturally bobs up in places where students use to talk casually about school – mostly on social media (their Facebook profiles, their Twitter handles). Talking on corners is sometimes more than just babble, and can give you a very accurate picture on how your performance reflects in the eyes of students. Make wise use of it!
is part of the team behind 123ContactForm online form builder, a tool to create appraisal forms, surveys and any other type of form in just a few clicks. Laura has extensive experience in social and educational projects through different student organizations.