By Teachers, For Teachers
Gathering student feedback as a classroom management tool at the end of the school year is one of the most effective ways that you can improve your teaching. The more information that you gather, the better it will be for your upcoming students the following school year.
Here are a few reasons why you should seek student feedback, as well as some effective classroom management methods you can go about getting it.
When you take the time to ask your students for their feedback, you can use it to your advantage in many ways.
One of the many benefits of getting student feedback is that that it can increase student engagement. By finding out what students like most and least in your class, it can help you design your lessons to better engage them. You can also go a step further and find out your students’ overall likes and dislikes about a variety of different topics. The more specific questions you ask, the easier it will be for you to craft a lesson that all of your students will enjoy.
When you ask students for their feedback on your class, you are showing them that you value their opinion. Learning about their individual experience within your class can also help to improve your own relationship with them. Having a solid student-teacher relationship is also a great for improving classroom management, as students will be more willing to help you out with tasks if they like you.
Student feedback is a great way to discover new information that you may have not known if you didn’t ask for your students’ thoughts and opinions. When students are given the opportunity to share their thoughts (especially if it’s anonymous), they may include information that you may have otherwise never been privy too, like bullying in the classroom.
There are a variety of different ways that you solicit feedback from your students. Here are a few of the most effective methods teachers use.
Student focus groups are one of the most effective ways for you to get feedback because they allow students to be open and honest in an informal group setting. The benefit of having a focus group is that it will help you set new goals, and improve your teaching methods. When you’re getting end-of-year feedback, you want to divide students into small groups to discuss what they would keep and what they would change about your class. The key to gathering pertinent information is that students in the group won’t be singled out for their answers, students will feed off each others’ answers, and the answers will come from the entire group. Here are a few sample questions that you can ask of students when getting feedback.
Student surveys are another effective method for getting important feedback from your students -- especially an anonymous, open-ended survey at the end of the school year. The anonymity of the survey will allow students to be open and honest with you, so you can have an idea of how well your class really went during the school year. Here are a few examples of open-ended questions that you can ask that will help you gather the feedback you need to improve your teaching methods.
Getting feedback via an anonymous note is another effective measure you can take to learn how students really feel about your class and your teaching methods. Ask students to type (so you won’t know who it’s from by their handwriting) a note about anything that they want to comment on about your class. You can write some sample questions or prompts (like the ones mentioned above) on the front board to help them if they don’t know where to start or what to comment on. This is a great way for you to learn how you’re doing as a teacher in a non-threatening way from your students.
Once you get the information from students, then you must do something with it. Since it’s the end of the school year and your time with your students is coming to an end, you can take the information you learned and talk to the students further to learn how you can make changes for the better the following school year. You can also talk with your colleagues, friends, or family, or even post the information on a blog or within an online group to get suggestions on the information that you’ve found.
The best time to get student feedback is at the end of the school year, around the last few days of school. When you do it at this time, you are most likely to get honest feedback, because the students won’t feel so embarrassed speaking their truth. Very shortly, you will no longer be their teacher!
Do you get end-of-year feedback from you students? If so, which classroom management method do you use?
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 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.