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5 Reasons You Should Seek Your OWN Student Feedback

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Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s easy to assume you already know what students think about your class, how well they’re handling the workload, what activities they like the most. Yes, it’s possible you know best.

Still.

If you’ve never asked students for serious, honest feedback, you’re missing something. If you ask the right questions and give students the time and encouragement to supply quality answers, student feedback can benefit you in so many ways.

The Benefits

1. Increasing Student Engagement: By finding out what learning activities students like the most and least about your class, you’ll get better at designing lessons that really engage them. Of course, your job is not to entertain your students 24/7, but if some methods of delivery are better received than others, then they’re likely to result in greater learning gains as well.

2. Preventive Discipline: Learning more about each student’s experience in your class can go a long way toward improving the relationship you have with them. And that can go a long way toward improving classroom management.

3. Differentiation: Grades and test scores don’t tell the whole story. A student who is getting excellent grades might be accomplishing that only with tremendous effort and hours of work at home. Conversely, a student who consistently turns in mediocre work might actually want more of a challenge. By asking students how well the work fits their abilities, you can adjust your instruction to better meet their needs.

4. Bully Prevention: When students are given an opportunity to share their feelings about your class, they might also include information about students who harass them. If a student says he hates coming to your class every day, the reason might have more to do with his peers than with anything you’re doing. Gathering student feedback is the first step toward discovering the things you don’t know about your own classroom.

5. Self-Preservation: Many school systems are implementing teacher evaluation programs that include student feedback. And at the college level, student evaluations can significantly impact a professor’s promotion and tenure. Instead of waiting for the “official” forms to be distributed to students, get ahead of the curve by asking for similar feedback early, while there’s still time to troubleshoot.

Gathering Student Feedback, Step-by-Step

Start by asking good questions.

Create a written survey you distribute to students. Even if you teach online, you can distribute forms electronically. Here are some questions that should be included:

That last question might seem like a throw-away, but it can elicit some of the most powerful and significant information you’ll get. Some students will use it to tell you about a problem they’re having with a classmate. Others will tell you that the handle on the class supply drawer is broken. You just never know what you’re going to get, so be sure to add an open-ended question like this to your survey.

Next, create optimal conditions for quality feedback.

Finally, ACT on the feedback.

Gathering information is useless if you do nothing with it. Here are some ways you can respond to student feedback:

A Tool You Can Use Right Now

If you’d like something ready-made for gathering student feedback, I have prepared an excellent form you can use today: The “How’s It Going?” Form. You can use it any time of year to get a quick snapshot for how students are experiencing your class. The form comes in two versions: One for elementary students and the other for secondary and college-level students. With each, you’ll also get an editable form so you can add to or adjust the questions for your own needs. Both forms are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store:

 

How-Elem-Cover

The “How’s It Going?” Form
Elementary Level

 

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The “How’s It Going?” Form
Secondary/College Level

Tell Me How It Goes

My hope is that everyone who reads this will find a way to gather student feedback in the next week. If you do, please come back and tell us what you learned. ♦

Like what you’ve seen so far?
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2 Comments

  1. Dom Dalais says:

    We do this. It is an integral part of feedback. It is really important though to make sure students answer honestly and constructively. For them to do this they need to be fully prepared.

  2. Awesome post Jennifer! Feedback from students can benefit you in so many ways! To improve the process, we at Hubert.ai are working on a new way to collect student opinions – through AI conversations. Insights that will help the teacher improve will be automatically presented based on the feedback and students will enjoy a more fun way of responding. Sign up at our website http://hubert.ai/

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