Feedback in the classroom is one of the most important factors for academic success, and teachers spend hours on end providing their students with it. However, feedback is hardly a one-way street and as an educator, collecting feedback can prove to be very beneficial. If done correctly, feedback gives teachers an exclusive picture of what goes on in the minds of the students they spend most of the year teaching. Collecting feedback in the classroom can help increase student engagement which is especially important during times where virtual learning has left students unusually quiet. With feedback, teachers are better able to analyse their student’s needs for differentiation or intervention when allowing them to comment on the assignments they complete. By encouraging a school environment where teachers and school leaders are receptive to feedback, students learn that their voice matters when their education is at hand. Likewise, by collecting and applying feedback teachers model a skill that students can practice in their own work. Although it may seem nearly impossible to find the time to even give feedback, collecting feedback doesn’t need to be nearly as daunting.
How you can introduce feedback in your classroom environment
1. Start slow
Introducing feedback in the classroom doesn’t require an entire overhaul of classroom procedures or course curricula. Teachers can start by implementing small or quick questionnaires where students can familiarise themselves with the act of giving feedback without the strain of a long survey. Exit tickets are a great way for students to reflect on the assignments or lessons for the day while also thinking about the most and least successful aspects of the work. If finding time to add yet another thing to your to-do list seems unattainable at the moment, a simple class discussion at the end of a lesson can get students thinking about what works and what doesn’t.
2. Make it safe
Depending on the students’ ages, many may have never experienced giving or receiving feedback and may often feel in the “wrong” for voicing their opinions. In order for students to feel at ease with providing their teachers and administrators with feedback, they must feel heard, but also protected and safe. By informing students that their concerns are valid and anonymous (if they prefer), teachers can foster a more accepting and trusting environment, where students will feel more at ease with their words. Helping students understand why you seek this feedback will also help them understand its importance while giving them the chance to take responsibility for their learning process.
3. Share the results
Collecting feedback is by far the hardest part of the process. But, not sharing the results of the feedback can be just as detrimental as not collecting it in the first place. As we all know, teaching is hardly a one person job, and sharing the feedback collected is what will truly make a difference in your school culture. As both the providers and the subjects of the feedback, it is imperative that teachers share the results with their students. This not only shows the students that their concerns are being heard and acted on, it also shows them the difference they can make in any process in life, be it in the classroom or not. However, students are not always in the position to put the feedback into practice, which is where leadership comes in. Keeping your school leaders in the loop throughout your feedback process ensures that you not only have their support, but that these changes will eventually come to fruition.
4. Make a change
Teaching students to both give and receive feedback is an invaluable skill that they will certainly use time and time again. However, if students fail to see their feedback being considered or implemented, they will be less likely to participate in the future. By demonstrating the changes that arise when students are free and willing to voice their opinions or concerns, teachers can encourage students to continue developing their voices and continue taking charge of their learning.
Try gathering regular feedback in your classroom
There are many methods for gathering regular feedback, but if you are looking for a comprehensive and consistent approach, we recommend trying Pivot’s Pulse Check Survey tool. In the aim to encourage regular feedback from students, Pivot has developed a survey tool that allows teachers and school leaders to design short, yet highly effective online surveys of between 5-10 questions. You can write your own questions that directly reflect your classwork, or select from the extensive question bank that is home to a variety of questions that cover readiness to learn, creative thinking, wellbeing and more. For more information or to try the Pulse Check Survey tool this Term, go to www.pivotpl.com/pulse-check.
While accepting feedback from students may seem unnatural to some, it encourages students to see their classroom as a collaborative learning environment where they can perfect their communication skills along with their academic skills. A teacher just starting to open the pathways for giving and receiving feedback may encounter some resistance at first, but as trust is established between teachers and students, the feedback process will become more familiar and commonplace. The best way to get started is by simply getting started, carving out a small space in your day to allow students to take authority of their learning experience.