Student Feedback – Go to the Source!

So this week I want to talk about the importance of gathering feedback on ourselves as educators. This particular topic is fresh on my mind these days, as I just personally went through the process twice in the last month (the Middle School Parent survey that went out a few weeks ago, as well as the recent faculty survey that went out to all Middle School teachers specifically about me as a divisional leader). The feedback that I received from both stakeholder groups was not only incredibly informative, but also extremely valuable for me to see where I was being successful, as well as (and most importantly in my opinion) the specific areas of growth that need my attention. In fact, the feedback was so insightful, that it has inspired me to try and motivate all of you to go out and solicit as much feedback and evaluative data on yourselves as you can…….right away!

Often times as educators, we tend to get so much feedback from administrators, parents, and test results that we forget to tap into our biggest and best source of information……our kids. If you think about it, the students are really the ones with the most authentic perspective on how we’re doing with regards to our teaching and instructional practices, so why not go to them directly? As part of our school’s current supervision and evaluation program, teachers are required to get into each other’s class rooms for some peer evaluation at some point throughout the year. This is without a doubt a necessary and useful endeavor, but sometimes it can be too short or too contrived to gather truly meaningful feedback. Not only are the students the ones who know you best in your role, they are also quite capable of being honest and constructive when given the proper preparation. The key I think is framing the feedback questions the right way, so you end up targeting the specific information that you’re most eager to acquire.

I’ve included a number of great links below which will help you construct a survey or evaluative instrument that will help you get the feedback that you need. Last week, I looked at a number of survey questionnaires and educational websites, and these helped me craft a specific student survey that I’m eager to give to our Middle School kids after China Trips. So, I now know what the parents think, and I now know what the faculty thinks, but what I really need/want to find out is how our school is doing from the perspective of our students. If the ultimate goal is to give our students a rich, diverse, deep, and lasting educational experience, then it only makes sense to ask them how we’re faring. My challenge to all of you before the end of the school year is to gather as much student feedback as you can on yourself and your course, and then to use that information as a tool for educational and professional growth……….I guarantee it will be a rewarding exercise and experience. Have a great week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the Week……….
The goal is to transform data into information, and information into insight
– Carly Fiorina

Student Feedback/Survey Sites
http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/c/a/caw43/behrendwriting/feedback.html
http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/feedback/gatheringfeedback.htm
http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/teaching-guides/reflecting/student-feedback/
http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/resource_database/id352_collecting_and_using_student_feedback

Article #1- The Power of Student Feedback The Power of Student Feedback
Article #2- How to Foster Student Feedback How to Foster Student Feedback