By Teachers, For Teachers
It can be scary to ask students what they think of you and the way that you teach. However, if you want honest feedback about your teaching, then your students are the ones to ask. Children are honest by nature, and if you ask them (especially the younger ones), they will tell you anything that you want to know.
There are many benefits from getting student feedback, like the fact that your students have a front-row seat to your classroom management style, and how you educate and motivate them, so they are the obvious choice to ask how you’re doing as a teacher. Here are a few more reasons why you should seek student feedback as part of your classroom management routine.
Asking students their opinions will help you gain insight into what your students are thinking. You’ll find out their likes and dislikes, as well as how they experience your classroom. Every student (even though they are in the same classroom) will experience your class in his or her own, unique way. When you give students the opportunity to share what your class is like for them, you can then take that knowledge to help improve your classroom management plan. For example, let’s say one student loves how you allow all students to attend “Fun Friday,” while another may think it’s inconsiderate to allow all students to attend “Fun Friday” when some of the students didn’t work hard during the week and didn’t turn in all of their homework. You can then take that information and utilize it to come up with a classroom management plan that’s fair for everyone. For example, in order to attend “Fun Friday,” all homework must be turned in on time. Learning about each student’s personal experiences within your classroom, like the one mentioned, can help you not only improve your behavior plan, but also your personal relationships with your students, because they will see you’re making the changes to appease all students.
Feedback allows you to gather information on things that you may otherwise not have known if you didn’t ask. For example, a student who is shy and keeps to himself in class may reveal that he dislikes your class, not because of you, but because they are getting bullied and are too shy to tell anyone. When you give your students a non-threating way to share their feelings (like through an anonymous survey), then you’ll discover things that you may have not known about your students or classroom. This information can then help you put bully prevention tactics, for example, in place so all students feel safe.
As a teacher, it’s not always easy to meet the needs of all students. However, when you get student feedback, you will learn things that can help to guide you in a better direction so that all students’ needs are being met. Test scores alone will not indicate if a student is learning. They also won’t tell you if a student dislikes your class, or works better kinesthetically or visually. However, by taking the time to get student feedback, you’ll be able to have a deeper understanding of what each student needs, which can help you adjust your instruction and lessons to meet everyone’s needs.
Another wonderful benefit of seeking student feedback is that it can help to increase student engagement. By asking students their thoughts and opinions on topics, such as the learning activities they like and dislike, the classroom textbooks and computer software you use, and the technology that you incorporate, you can design lessons and activities that are geared toward what is engaging to them. This can then result in an increase in learning.
Whether you are an elementary, middle school, or high school teacher, you can benefit from getting student feedback. Many teachers actually like to ask their students for their opinions before they have a teacher evaluation. This helps them get any feedback early so they can adjust their routine or lessons accordingly. College professors like to do this because student feedback can have a significant impact on their job. So teachers can take a note from these professors and use it as a self-serving tool to help them with their teaching careers.
Student feedback gives you the opportunity to make any needed adjustments, and you may actually even learn a thing or two about your students that you didn’t know before, like how they learn best. Your students will benefit from giving you feedback, too. You’re essentially telling them that you care enough to hear their opinion and that you’re willing to make the changes that will help them succeed. When you ask the right questions, your students will give you quality answers. Just be sure to ask for feedback in a variety of different ways to ensure everyone feels comfortable giving their opinion.
What is your favorite way to get student feedback?
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master’s of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the elementary education expert for Thoughtco (formally About.com) for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.