#IMMOOC Week 2 – How did this work for our students?

As I was reading Part 1 of The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros this past week, one of the “Critical Questions for Educators” really struck a chord for me: “How did this work for our students?”  In the book Couros shares that he used to survey his students at the end of the year, and I often gave my students a similar survey at the end of every school year.  I would ask what their favorite lessons were, and what were the things that they didn’t enjoy as much.  I would analyze the results, and use it to improve my practice for the next school year.

In retrospect, I feel I may have been missing an important piece.  I valued my student’s opinions, and would use their responses to improve, but how did my survey help them?  It didn’t.

Think about it like this: When was the last time that you were out to eat with your family or friends and had poor service?  Or what about a time where you server was so awesome you just wanted to show love in more ways than just a good tip? How did you handle either of those situations?  Did you ask to speak to the manager?  Did you call the restaurant after you left?  Maybe they had comment cards, or a website where you could leave feedback.

Have you ever thought of your students as being kind of like the customers of your classroom?  How often do your students get a chance to leave you feedback about your lessons?  They are in your classroom on a daily basis.  Shouldn’t we all know what our students like or don’t like about our class?

In The Innovator’s Mindset we’re reminded that innovation isn’t just doing things that are new, but doing things that are new AND better.  These days through the use of Google/Microsoft Forms, SurveyMonkey, and other simple survey tools, we can always be seeking the feedback of our students.  Wouldn’t it be a learning experience to take a moment to reflect on your student’s opinion about that lesson you were so excited about?

Create a simple survey.  Make a QR code that students can scan that will take them to the survey.  Encourage students to provide anonymous feedback of what’s happening in your classroom, and take that feedback to grow as a teacher.  What a way to build student empowerment in your classroom – when they see you responding to your feedback in a way that model’s growth, they will see the value in a growth mindset of their own.

Have you ever surveyed your students before?  What kind of questions have you included?  Share your thought in the comments below!

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11 thoughts on “#IMMOOC Week 2 – How did this work for our students?

  1. I love this! We know that formative assessments are so important to help us gauge where are students are at. Should we have formative assessments too? Let us know where WE’RE at? Great suggestions too. Love it! Now, the commitment to action, remember!? :0)

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  2. Great thoughts…I think that when we look at feedback from our students, it can help us grow tremendously. What I think is crucial is sharing the feedback that you have received from your students, and sharing what you are doing moving forward because of their thoughts. This shows that you not only value their time and thoughts, but that you too, as the educator in the room, are learning and growing.

    Great post!

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    1. Thanks George! I love the idea of sharing the results back with the kids. I hadn’t thought of that, but it shows that we value their opinions and that we’re going to take their feedback and grow from it!

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  3. I have been toying with the idea of surveying my students for some time now but have been held back because I’m afraid that much of the feedback might not really help me or might have a lot of “I don’t know” answers. I’d be interested in hearing your ideas of good questions that will provoke good feedback. Thanks for posting this!

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  4. I’ve been tossing around the idea of surveying my students for the past couple of months. After reading this week’s chapters I think I finally am ready to ask my students what they don’t like about our class. I’ve asked them before what they like best and most of my Grade 2 students always respond, “You!”. I’m really interested in finding out what they have to say. I hope to use my feedback for my blog post this week.

    I have also surveyed my students about reading and what they like to read best, what they don’t like to read, and what kind of books we need more of in our classroom. It really helped me to focus on what they are interested in and help them develop a passion for reading.

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  5. Brain, thanks for sharing this post. I couldn’t agree more that seeking feedback from students is crucial! I will attach a couple of links I’ve used and share with novice teachers when coaching. I, too, along with George, think it is vital that we are overt and transparent when sharing the results with our students. Sharing the feedback and our actions as the teacher allows them to see that we 1) appreciate and value their voice and 2) never reach a plateau in the learning and growing process.
    Links to a few surveys I like to use with students…
    http://www.tarammartin.com/resources/surveys-for-reflection/

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  6. Great post, Brian.
    I like the example you used to firmly connect student feedback and teacher improvement. As educators, we reflect and provide self feedback to improve lessons, units, etc., so what better way to gain feedback than those we are trying to teach? They are the “judges” or “critics” we are “performing” for, so empowering students to provide feedback is the best way we can improve ourselves, and to improve their learning, based on their preferences.

    -Mat

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  7. I love to get feedback from my students. I especially value the feedback that surprises me. We have to stop making assumptions and the best way I have found to gain perspective is to ask the people who matter!

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