Seeing as my students have to endure my presence, instructions, and bad jokes for 3 hours and 45 minutes each week, I figure the least I can do is give them an opportunity to tell me how I can make this task a little easier for them. In my first year of teaching I knocked together the below form. I’ve used it for a year now and it’s been really helpful to date. In particular, it’s helped me to bring more celebration into my classroom, with many students over the past year indicating that they want their successes to be celebrated more (usually with lollies!).
This has been great, but as I’ve moved into my role as head of senior maths this year it’s prompted me to think more strategically about student feedback, and the role it can play in my own, and my team’s professional development.
No feedback form is going to tell a teacher, or a team leader, everything they need to know in terms of ‘Where am I going? How am I going? Where to next?’, but I’ve been feeling more and more as thought these forms do have a key role to play in helping teachers to spot gaps, and motivating and inspiring us to improve our praxis.
I was really happy with the willingness of my team to roll out the above form (Obviously with ‘Ollie’ changed to their individual names) in their own classes, and the insights gained were very illuminating. But coupling these feedback forms with my own observations provided and even bigger insight for me. It surprised me just how differently student (novices when it comes to principles of instruction) and I (a relative expert) view what happens in a classroom.
From this it’s became more apparent to me that if I want student feedback to more effectively drive my own professional development, I need to start asking better and more targeted questions that will allow me to see exactly where my teaching is excelling, and where I’m falling short.
So, here’s a first draft of the new feedback questions (which I’ll eventually turn into a google form). I’ve based it off the Sutton Trust’s article What makes great teaching? Review of the underpinning research, headed up by Robert Coe. I’ve used the first four out of the six “common components suggested by research that teachers should consider when assessing teaching quality.” (p. 2). These are the components rated as having ‘strong’ or ‘moderate’ evidence of impact on student outcomes, and they’re also the components with observable outcomes in the classroom (5 and 6 are ‘Teacher Beliefs’ and ‘Professional Behaviours’, which encapsulate practices like reflecting on praxis and collaborating with colleagues).
For each of the following I’ll get students to rate the sentence from 1, strongly disagree, to 5, strongly agree, in the hope that this will give me a better idea of how students interpret the various components of my teaching and teacher disposition.
I’ll also add a question at the end along the lines of ‘Is there anything else you’d like to add?’.
I’ve numbered the Qs to make it easy for people to make comments about them on twitter. This is a working document and today is the second day of our 2 week Easter break. I’m keen to perfect this as much as possible prior to Term 2. Please have a read and I’d love your thoughts and feedback : )
Link to Twitter discussion here.
Edit: A copy of the live form can now be viewed at: http://tiny.cc/copyscstudentfeedback
|Four (of the 6) components of great teaching (Coe et al., 2014).||Questions.|
|1. (Pedagogical) content knowledge (Strong evidence of impact on student outcomes)
Student friendly language: Knowledge of the subject and how to teach it.
The most effective teachers have deep knowledge of the subjects they teach, and when teachers’ knowledge falls below a certain level it is a significant impediment to students’ learning. As well as a strong understanding of the material being taught, teachers must also understand the ways students think about the content, be able to evaluate the thinking behind students’ own methods, and identify students’ common misconceptions.
|1.1 This teacher has a deep understanding of the maths that they teach you. They really ‘know their stuff’.
1.2 This teacher has a good understanding of how students learn. They really ‘know how to teach’.
If you have any comments on this teacher’s knowledge of the content and how to teach it, please write them below.
|2. Quality of instruction (Strong evidence of impact on student outcomes)
Student friendly language: Quality of instruction
Includes elements such as effective questioning and use of assessment by teachers. Specific practices, like reviewing previous learning, providing model responses for students, giving adequate time for practice to embed skills securely and progressively introducing new learning (scaffolding) are also elements of high quality instruction.
|2.1 This teacher clearly communicates to students what they need to be able to do, and how to do it.
2.2 This teacher asks good questions of the class. Their questions test our understanding and help us to better understand too.
2.3 This teacher gives us enough time to practice in class.
2.4 The different parts of this teacher’s lessons are clear. Students know what they should be doing at different times throughout this teacher’s lessons.
2.5 The way that this teacher assesses us helps both us and them to know where we’re at, what we do and don’t know, and what we need to work more on.
2.6 This teacher spends enough time revisiting previous content in class that we don’t forget it.
If you have any comments on the quality of this teacher’s instruction, please write them below.
|3. Classroom climate (Moderate evidence of impact on student outcomes)
Student friendly language: Classroom Atmosphere and Student Relations
Covers quality of interactions between teachers and students, and teacher expectations: the need to create a classroom that is constantly demanding more, but still recognising students’ self-worth. It also involves attributing student success to effort rather than ability and valuing resilience to failure (grit).
|3.1 Students in this teacher’s class feel academically safe. That is, they don’t feel they’ll be picked on (by teacher or students) if they get something wrong.
3.2 Students in this teacher’s class feel socially safe. That is, this teacher promotes cooperation and support between students.
3.3 Even if I don’t get a top score, if I try my best I know that this teacher will appreciate my hard work.
3.4 This teacher cares about every student in their class
3.5 This teacher has high expectations of us and what we can achieve.
If you have any comments on the atmosphere of this teacher’s classroom, or their student relations, please write them below.
|4. Classroom management (Moderate evidence of impact on student outcomes)
Student friendly language: Classroom Management
A teacher’s abilities to make efficient use of lesson time, to coordinate classroom resources and space, and to manage students’ behaviour with clear rules that are consistently enforced, are all relevant to maximising the learning that can take place. These environmental factors are necessary for good learning rather than its direct components.
|4.1 This teacher manages the class’ behavior well so that we can maximize our time spent learning.
4.2 There are clear rules and consequences in this teacher’s class.
4.3 This teacher is consistent in applying their rules.
4.4 The rules and consequences in this teacher’s class are fair and reasonable, and they help to support our learning.
4.5 Students work hard in this teacher’s class.
If you have any comments on this teacher’s classroom management, please write them below.
|Final Open-ended Questions||If you have any further comments or questions in relation to this teacher, please feel free to share them below.