Finding Out What Students Really Think and Feel About Our Teaching
One of the most powerful avenues to self-improvement as a teacher involves accessing the voices of those who matter most — our students. When carefully planned out, student voice can be an extremely effective tool for helping to critically reflect upon our own teaching by using this data to inform next steps in regards to how we might improve upon our practice.
All teachers in my current school are required to collect student voice throughout the year in order to identify needed areas of growth and development. Once this feedback is collected from the students, the teachers sit down with their pedagogical coordinators to analyze this data and to create their own action plan for improvement.
The 5 areas that teachers can seek feedback on are; Expectations, Safety, Relationships, Communication, and Motivation. Each of these areas are further broken down into specific guiding statements related to that particular area as seen in the diagram below. Our school adopted this model from a well-known educational consulting agency from New Zealand. The company's name is Interlead and they have played an influential role in improving upon teacher practice at our school. I highly recommend checking out their work.
In utilizing student voice in your program, not only will students know that what they think and feel truly matters, teachers have an opportunity to model what having a growth mindset looks like by taking action on the feedback received. Teachers can share the feedback with their students, identifying the areas that they have to get better at and how they are going to do this.
Teachers can pick any of the above areas to receive feedback on and can collect it in whatever way they feel is best. Students are generally more inclined to respond honestly if an anonymous survey is given as they can sometimes worry that their responses might be used against them. In creating a culture of trust with your students, it is critical to let them know that you genuinely seek their honest feedback. Of course, many of you already understand this, but it is still important to be aware of.
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.