Taking student feedback seriously

Here’s something any teacher (and probably by extension any school) should be thinking about:

How useful are the views of public school students about their teachers?

Quite useful, according to preliminary results released on Friday from a $45 million research project that is intended to find new ways of distinguishing good teachers from bad.

Teachers whose students described them as skillful at maintaining classroom order, at focusing their instruction and at helping their charges learn from their mistakes are often the same teachers whose students learn the most in the course of a year, as measured by gains on standardized test scores, according to a progress report on the research.

Makes sense intuitively. And makes me think again how important it is to take on board the feedback from students. Next step, I suppose, is to design a feedback form (to go a long with the how can I improve board)

Why one should thank students

This is beautifully put, I think. An old Chinese teacher explained to Richard Gerver why he taught in such a calm, cheerful way. The answer was:

“Every day, I stand in front of these young people, their faces full of expectation and hope, their energy radiating across the stale air of this room, and as I look across at them, I think to myself, somewhere in this room could be the person who finds the cure for cancer, the solution to world peace, could be the person who writes the next great symphony that moves mankind. There could be a future leader, doctor, nurse, teacher, Olympic champion. I don’s know, but what I do know is that they are out there and it is my job to identify and nurture that talent, not just for their own benefit but for possible the benefit of others. Is there any greater responsibility or opportunity than that? I am blessed, that is why I thank them.”

I’ve put this up on a wall in my classroom with a space where students can let me know how I can become a better teacher. The first suggestion was “Give us more chocolate”. The second was “Give us an outline of the whole year first rather than bit by bit please”. Which is a great idea, and one I’m guilty of not doing enough of.

How Should Teacher Effectiveness Be Assessed?

In a report titled "The Widget Effect," the nonprofit New Teacher Project found that in public schools nationwide, teacher effectiveness is not measured, recorded or used to inform decision-making in any meaningful way. The result, according to the study, is a system where teachers are treated as interchangeable parts.

Source: here