'A great teacher is someone who can learn from their students, who can learn with them, and learns for them' (Robert Meehan)
One of the bravest things to do is to ask your students to reflect on your teaching strengths and areas for improvement. For many, if not most, teaching is a vocation. It's a job of the heart. Therefore, asking for feedback puts that heart at risk, and opens you up to the possibility of an ego crushing moment.
During my first year as a high school teacher, I asked my year 7 science class to give feedback on my strengths, and on areas where I could improve as a teacher. Amongst the 'I like your hair' comments, there were some responses that made a significant impact on me.
'You need to be more organised.'
Such simple feedback, but it made me stop and think...they had a fair point...I was disorganised. From that day on I made an effort to improve my organisational skills, until they became my strength, appreciated by both my students and colleagues alike. In addition, as I learnt the skills of organisation, I could pass these skills on as a lived experience to the students.
Giving students the chance to feedback in a constructive way not only empowers them, but also allows a teacher to develop their skills from the eyes of the learner.
In the years mentoring trainee teachers, I have found that the end of the lesson is often the part most unplanned and left to chance. However, the end of the class is an amazing opportunity to get feedback on the student's perspective of their own learning, and how you can improve lessons for them.
1) What did you find helpful/enjoyable in this lesson?
2) What parts of the lesson were not so great?
3) What things can I do differently next time to help you?
4) Is there a subject/idea you would like to work on next time?
Here is some sample feedback from a lesson.
I hope this is helpful, and as always, please feel free to leave feedback...