As I was reading Part 1 of The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros this past week, one of the “Critical Questions for Educators” really struck a chord for me: “How did this work for our students?” In the book Couros shares that he used to survey his students at the end of the year, and I often gave my students a similar survey at the end of every school year. I would ask what their favorite lessons were, and what were the things that they didn’t enjoy as much. I would analyze the results, and use it to improve my practice for the next school year.
In retrospect, I feel I may have been missing an important piece. I valued my student’s opinions, and would use their responses to improve, but how did my survey help them? It didn’t.
Think about it like this: When was the last time that you were out to eat with your family or friends and had poor service? Or what about a time where you server was so awesome you just wanted to show love in more ways than just a good tip? How did you handle either of those situations? Did you ask to speak to the manager? Did you call the restaurant after you left? Maybe they had comment cards, or a website where you could leave feedback.
Have you ever thought of your students as being kind of like the customers of your classroom? How often do your students get a chance to leave you feedback about your lessons? They are in your classroom on a daily basis. Shouldn’t we all know what our students like or don’t like about our class?
In The Innovator’s Mindset we’re reminded that innovation isn’t just doing things that are new, but doing things that are new AND better. These days through the use of Google/Microsoft Forms, SurveyMonkey, and other simple survey tools, we can always be seeking the feedback of our students. Wouldn’t it be a learning experience to take a moment to reflect on your student’s opinion about that lesson you were so excited about?
Create a simple survey. Make a QR code that students can scan that will take them to the survey. Encourage students to provide anonymous feedback of what’s happening in your classroom, and take that feedback to grow as a teacher. What a way to build student empowerment in your classroom – when they see you responding to your feedback in a way that model’s growth, they will see the value in a growth mindset of their own.
Have you ever surveyed your students before? What kind of questions have you included? Share your thought in the comments below!