Last year I took Julie Reubach’s survey and used it for the students in my final set of classes at my previous school. This year I gave essentially the same survey. Probably the most important thing for me was to compare some of the results to make sure the essential elements of my teaching identity made the transition intact.
- Students responded that the reassessments and the quizzing system were important elements to keep for next year. I’ll share more about my reflection on the reassessment system in a later post.
- Students liked having plenty of time during class to work and get help if they needed it. I tried to strike a balance between this, exploration, and direct instruction. More on that last point below.
- Students appreciated the structures of class and the materials. They liked having warm-up activities for each class, the organization of documents on Google Drive, and the use of PearDeck for assssment of their ideas during class.
- The stories, personal anecdotes, and jokes at the start of class apparently go over well with students. I don’t think I could stop this completely anyway, so I’m glad students don’t necessarily see this as being unfocused or as a waste of class time.
- Students like structured opportunities to work together and solve problems that are not just sets from the handouts. Explorations got strong reviews, which is good because I think they are good uses of class time too.
What needs work:
- Students want more example problems. I consistently did some
in each class, but I always struggled with the balance between doing more problems and addressing issues as they came up individually. Some students want a bit more guidance that doesn’t necessarily require whole group instruction, but say that the individual group explanations or suggestions aren’t meeting their needs completely. This might mean I record some videos or present worked problems as part of the class resources in case students want them.
I appreciate how consistently students are willing to give feedback about my classes. There were some really useful individual comments that will help me think about how the decisions I make might affect the spectrum of students in each course. I promised students that I wouldn’t look at the results until after grades were in, just in case that might encourage more honesty. This was an anonymous survey, and with the larger class sizes this year, I think there was a closer amount of anonymity with respect to individual responses. There is a lot to sift through here, which is why I’m glad I still have the better part of the summer to do so.