Every good and effective educator always checks for the room for improvement in their teaching and looks for new ways/techniques to work on themselves in order to provide good education to their students.
In actuality, improvement is something that educators instill in their students and it would be hypocritical to not expect the same from their own selves. Students are the center of our classroom and receiving feedback from them about your teaching will not only help you identify your loopholes but also help you meet the needs of your students. It will also assist you and your peers in improving and further developing the long-prevailing pedagogy. Students can provide the most authentic and accurate feedback on your everyday teaching experiences; as they experience first-hand how you teach in the actual situation, as opposed to how you may teach when you are being observed by outside parties.
However, the question is “how to receive most honest feedbacks from them?” Some may fear of getting scolded by teachers, while some may prefer giving a casual feedback.
So, in this article, we bring to you few efficient ways to garner the honest opinions that you need from students. Let's have a look!
Having anonymous online/offline surveys are one of the best ways to gather students’ perceptions of their teachers and their own learning experiences. You can provide feedback forms to your students either in the middle or at the end of the semester to fill in and ask them to not reveal their identity or put a disclaimer - “This survey response is anonymous, please don’t share your identity.” This will allow students to write down authentic feedback without any fear of getting targeted by any teacher.
Also, these surveys will help you tailor questions to specific activities and assess your and your colleagues teaching. You can either ask a direct question, like “ Do you understand the last taught lesson by Mr. xyz? Yes or no. If no, please explain your issue” or ask rating based questions to generate numerical data. For example, “On a scale of 1-5, how helpful were the quarterly videos in connecting you to the class material?” You may ask them to write on papers or use Google forms for better evaluation report as the responses are summarized in data tables and charts for easy analysis.
At last, you may add open- ended question to get an overall idea of what improvements are required.
Conduct a small group instructional feedback (SGIF) session
By conducting a small group instructional feedback session, educators will be able to get a general lookover report, like a “summary” of a lesson. You can have such session by having a facilitator (often another faculty member) and a recorder visit your class while the teacher to be assessed step out, and it is often performed in mid-semester as a check-in so there’s enough time to implement positive changes for the remaining semester; however, doing the same at the end of the semester can still generate useful feedback for future course planning.
Herein, the facilitator can place students in small groups and ask to share about their learning experience in your course and then discuss those pointers (or some version of it). Meanwhile, the recorder takes notes (all anonymous), which can later be shared with the particular teacher in a meeting where teaching strategies are also discussed. By now, the teacher will have a report of what students see as problematic or valuable and what concrete suggestions they offer for improving the course.
Try Focus Group
Often, focused groups are used for market research to assess a new product, but it can be retooled to assess the overall wellness of a class. In a focus group, the school’s teacher or an outsider facilitates the discussion. You may conduct focus groups in the mid-semester or by the end of the semester i.e. on the last day of class during farewell party. Just make a group of four to five students, pose your questions and ask them to discuss amongst themselves. Then, after a long group chatting and note taking, ask reporter from each group to report their feedbacks aloud while you record on the board. And when someone suggests any improvement, take a poll and if there’s majority agreement, ask what that change might look like and then, simply, work on it.
Gather Feedback Through Conferences
In recent past, gathering feedback through conferences was not so normal. However, this isn’t the case anymore. Conferring is a great method in providing and receiving personalized feedback. By the end of the academic year, you can confer your students to get an overall picture of how their year went. You may ask:
What went good for them?
What hurdles they had during the course?
What aided their growth?
This will help you gather feedbacks on your practice and look for what improvements are required. While asking such questions do take notes and highlight major points. Also, look for trends in responses and apply them to next year’s planning.
These were among the best strategies to gather the most authentic and honest feedback from students. Hope, it’s serves your purpose.
Also, if you know any other efficient way then do let us know in the comments.