On the verge of finishing the school year, I find it necessary and important to ask my students for feedback on my classes and their learning. It’s the only way I know first hand what my students think of me and my teaching. With this in mind, I assigned a class reflection activity in which students were asked to answer five points:
- What I learned (academic and other)
- What I need to improve
- What I liked about the class
- What Martha could improve in her teaching
- Something I want to say to Martha
A total of 25 students answered this activity. In this post I will share the results of the first two reflection points, which refer to students’ learning and what they consider they could improve. A following post will cover the remaining points.
What I learned
For the following analysis, I listed the different answers students gave and put them into categories. Some students gave more than one answer. These were the results:
In terms of content, the general perception of most students was that they learned about grammar and writing. This was a literacy-based English class, so students had to do a lot of reading and writing. I find the answer on grammar interesting, since the class was not focused on grammar. I gave a couple of explanations on present and past perfect as well as prepositions and question forms, but in reality all the grammar corrections I gave them was through their writing process using color-coding feedback, which definitely had a positive impact on their learning, since I could see how they advanced from one writing task to another. Only two students mentioned reading comprehension, though this was a skill they greatly progressed in too, but I guess it was not the first thing they though of when asked what they learned. Another two students mentioned presenting skills. This was a pleasant surprise, since I trully only covered this topic in one class -after seeing the need to give students some dos and donts on their oral presentations. I showed them my TESOL powerpoint presentation. After that session, many students re-sent their presentations to my email. A conclusion from these results is that I’d like to focus more on pronunciation and speaking skills next year and make students more conscious of all the things they learn in class, especially learning strategies.
What I learned – Other
The real surpise was reading students responses that had nothing to do with the course syllabus. Here is a summary of my students’ words:
The words mentioned the most had to do with responsibility (6 students), working with others (3 students), accepting others (2 students), giving the best of themselves (2 students), and how to love or appreciate themselves (2 students).
From day one, I was clear on my zero bullying – zero intolerance policy in the classroom, and I was constant in highlighting the importance of accepting others and acceptance oneself, in learning from mistakes and always taking responsibility for the things you do and say. I was moved and happy to know that the things I said stuck in the minds of some of my students. In the end, this is the learning that really matters. We are not just content teachers. What a great responsibility we carry on our shoulders! We are teaching kids to be better citizens and better persons; to love themselves and to accept others; to believe in themselves and to pursue their dreams.
What I need to improve
Here’s what my students would like to improve.
Some I can definitely work more on, such as features of the language itself. Other aspects they mention like teamwork, punctuality, being more organized, responsibility, handing in quality work and participating more are aspects I need to embed in the different classes and probably reflect on more explicitly.