Thursday, 22 May 2014

Student Voice

My school is part of a pilot project aligned with the South Australian Teaching for Effective Learning  (TfEL) Framework. We're looking at ways we can (do and should) use student voice and engagement to design learning programmes, and ultimately education systems, that intellectually stretch students and create powerful expert learners.

One part of the project involves seeking direct feedback from the kids about their learning. How do they feel about the learning activities they're doing? How do they learn best? What would they like to change about the way we 'do' learning in our class? Doesn't sound overly challenging or out of the norm except that we have to do it explicitly everyday and keep a record of it.  Other than an end of week written reflection (that is in students' diaries and goes home to show parents) most of these conversations are usually quite spontaneous and informal in my classroom. Whilst I act on what I learn from the conversations I don't keep particular records of them. Well, I didn't. I do now of course!

One way that I've found to keep a good record of the kids' feedback is through Socrative.  Socrative is a 'student response system' that is available on whatever device you want to use, either through the website or apps. I set a 'quiz', open it to the kids, they submit their responses, and Socrative emails me a report of their responses. I set questions like "I am still wondering about..." and "I learnt best when I..." and "The lesson would have been better if...". I have also started to include a silly multiple choice question that relates to something we're doing the next day. The kids LOVE it.  It's quick, simple and instant.  I put the teacher screen up on the board while they're doing it; it shows how many kids have logged into the 'quiz' and how many have submitted. It can also show the names of kids and a live coverage of how many questions they've finished.  

The report is a simple table that lists all the answers. (If you've set multiple choice questions (and listed a correct answer) the table marks those questions for you.) In terms of the way I'm using it: I have a daily record of this feedback. I'm able to scan all the answers to a question to spot trends and anomalies. I can quickly see what needs to happen more or less. Patterns emerge easily.

This isn't the only way I collect feedback and data but wow! It's certainly one way I'm particularly enjoying.

How do you collect this sort of feedback? How do you respond?

This relates to the following Australian Professional Standards for Teachers...
Standard 1 Know students and how they learn.
Standard 3 Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning.
Standard 4 Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments.
Standard 6 Engage in professional learning.
Standard 7 Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community.

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