Do you care what students think?

A friend and I were discussing the idea of student evaluation of  teachers in order to improve teaching and learning. At the particular institution where this friend works, the idea was not well received by teachers. It might have been the way it was presented, perhaps the teachers feel threatened or are afraid of what might be revealed… or it might be the different perspective of a country and culture in which students are expected to show respect for teachers irrespective.

I was surprised that teachers might not want to know what their students think. Thinking about the learning process is just as important as thinking about what you learn. But, as Dylan William says in the video below, there are many teachers who ‘try to cause learning without the students’ help.’

I’ve posted before about how we articulated our learning beliefs and are constantly unpacking them to help teachers shift the focus in our school from teaching to learning.

Principle #5: Learning includes meta-cognition and reflection, which support learners taking ownership of their learning.

So…

  • Learners are actively involved in the learning process.
  • Learners set specific learning goals and are supported in achieving them.
  • The learning process is just as important as what is being learned.
  • Students constantly reflect and make connections between past and new learning.
  • Learners are always aware of the purpose of a task and how it will further their learning.
  • There is a classroom culture in which thinking is valued and questioning is encouraged.
  • The teacher doesn’t do  all the talking or make all the decisions.
  • Teachers invite feedback and act on it.
  • At student led conferences, students talk to parents about their learning, their strengths and weaknesses, their goals and achievements.

Previous posts illustrating the learning principles:

Principle #1: We learn in different ways, depending on abilities, learning styles, preferences and interests.

Principle #2: Learning is active and social and is enhanced by collaboration and interaction.

Principle #3: Learning takes place through inquiry: questioning, exploring, experimenting and problem solving.

Principle #4: Learning includes acquisition of skills and knowledge, constructing meaning and transfer to different contexts.


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6 thoughts on “Do you care what students think?

  1. I love it when we can use science to prove that learner-centred pedagogy is more than just some hippy’s dream.

    Meta-cognition, man, it’s what it’s all about.

    Peace :)

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  2. Really nice post. I think you have done a marvelous job of stating the obvious. Teachers should care enough about their students to relish their feedback on the learning environment in which they participate. Learning is a two-way street. There is a teacher and there is a learner (obvious). If the learner isn’t learning, it may be that the teacher is not effectively teaching. As teachers, we should desire feedback that gives clarity and direction to our purpose. Your five principles lay a nice roadmap for what we should be doing with students.

    Thanks for the good work!

    Bob

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  3. We have some students who are new to our school and I spent some time with them sharing what a PYP school is all about. I asked them if they noticed anything different about their new school. They were particulary struck by the fact that their teacher didnt know all the answers and that they had to think. As we talked further and visited other classrooms to see how thinking ” looked” in our PYP school, I was struck by the obvious fact that these children were not used to ” pulling their thinking out of their heads” and making it visible. They listened politely, but the outside thinking and active whirring of their learning that we mostly see in our PYP students was clearly not happening. I am excited to see if these children will become “outside thinkers” , activate their brains, process, dissect and then debate. I am excited to see if they will own their own learning and become partners in learning.

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  4. Hello, my name is Dana Johnson and I am and EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange’s class. This is a great post and shared video and I really enjoyed it. I too think that students should be heard as a help with their learning. I am an Elementary Major and when I become an educator I will make sure I hear my students out.

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