Student Surveys (Google Forms)
Before we left for our wonderful 2.5 week winter break, I asked my students to fill out an anonymous survey that I made using Google Forms. It looked something like this:
I used questions from an Edutopia-produced student feedback survey. I also wrote some of my own questions--I wanted to ensure that my students feel valued and comfortable in class. We had a faculty discussion on equity in our school, so this first question (see above) was especially timely for me.
I asked them what they would like to focus less on in class, and the reply was short stories. This was pretty much across the board for all of my ninth and tenth grade students. What this tells me is that I need to switch up the stories for next year (perhaps bringing in more modern, fresh perspectives) and also change the way that I teach and assess. This was very helpful for me to learn, as it was my first couple of months back in the classroom and I was juggling many things at once--teaching, learning the school culture, and more.
However, I was heartened to see that most of them enjoy the class as a whole. Most importantly, they feel comfortable and valued in the class. I am of the firm belief that if a student feels intimidated, unwanted, or "slow" in a class, she cannot (or will not) perform at her full potential.
I was very surprised to see what students want to see more of in our class (see below). Harkness (I will describe this in a later post) and Socratic discussion groups topped the list. This didn't surprise me so much. However, one of the top requests was more grammar instruction and application.
Yes, that's right. More grammar.
English teachers, rejoice. I know a lot of people don't enjoy teaching grammar. However, I try to make it fun through Laura Randazzo's M.U.G. Shots (recommended, not sponsored) and my own passion. I was so happy to see this. I do think correct grammar makes a significant difference in all areas of life.
They also wanted to increase the frequency of creative writing (I assigned a short story sequel assignment that was very popular), current events and literature, and music/dance/art in literature.
To those ends, I have decided to introduce poetry with a Padlet and some more creative options. I will be sharing this introduction in an upcoming post.
Some people would feel nervous having students rate their performance and overall happiness in a class. I felt a twinge of doubt; however, I also know that I have a lot to learn. I want the students to tell me what they enjoy and what they do not. It is not a good use of my time, energy, and passion to keep my head in the sand.
To produce a survey like mine, go to your Google Drive (www.drive.google.com) and use the "New" blue button on the left and click on "Forms." I just used a blank template for mine, and played around with the tools (see the little toolbar on the right of the question) to format the survey. I then shared the link with my students by placing the link (with an invitation to edit) on their class agendas. I will also discuss class agendas (which are so, so, so helpful for high school and college students) in an upcoming post.
Do you request feedback from your students? What method(s) do you use?
1. Class Agenda