Known by many names The Teacher Report Card is an activity that can cultivate positive relationships and collate unique data. Some teachers find observations of others, constructive criticism and feedback as a threat. Some doubt the validity of The Teacher Report Card as some students take the opportunity to ‘get back at’ their teacher. Some teachers embrace the process as an opportunity for development.
Why ask students to ‘grade’ the Teacher?
At our school (like many schools in Queensland, Australia) there is currently a focus on pedagogical and developing performance frameworks. The reflection process which is mandatory during our ‘pre-service’ activities becomes more optional when we are ‘fully’ qualified. In the past five years policies have been implemented to ensure continuous development of teachers as professionals. Full time Teachers are now expected to complete 30 hours of continued professional development activities per year in order to maintain their registration. While some resist this growing culture of reflection, development, observation and improvement, the simple fact is that even teachers need to seek feedback on their work.
The concept of feedback is not at all new. Teachers give feedback to their students (in the form of comments in notebooks, marking rubrics and report cards). Businesses of all sizes seek feedback from their customers and websites/ blogs request feedback with ‘like’ buttons and comments forms. A Google image search returns hundreds of pictures from feedback button icons to flowcharts, slogans, cartoons and more. If teachers are going to be good at what they do, they need to seek feedback too. It is useful to ask respected colleagues to observe lessons, record teaching and reflect as well as collate test scores. All of this provides feedback in various forms and when collated can assist you to improve in several areas of your teaching practice. However, who knows you and your teaching better than your students?!
Annette Breaux advocates the use of the Teacher Report Card by all teachers in order to learn more about their teaching practice and ways they can improve. She gives suggestions for questions and formats, insisting that each teacher create their own report card relevant to their teaching context. Mark Miller writes about Student Voice surveys on his blog The Goldfish Bowl. He makes some interesting points about the wording of questions on these surveys as well as the positive and negative outcomes of collecting student feedback.
What do you ask students to do?
Below you can see examples of student responses to the Teacher Report Card that I constructed for my class. I gave students a list of criteria for a good teacher, using language that was familiar to my students. Our school uses a SWPBS program with the principles of Respect, Responsibility and Co-operation, so I used these words on my Report Card. I also used language/ points from our teaching and learning framework such as ‘learning goals’ and ‘improvement’. The students then ticked a grade from A-E (the same scale used on student reports at our school) for each criteria statement. I then solicited comments from the students by asking three basic questions and requiring the students to answer these in complete sentences.
You can see here, examples of two student responses. I am yet to organise the responses properly but I did enjoy reading my ‘reports’ from the students. A few of them were quite entertaining.
How to introduce The Teacher Report Card to your students and using the information you have gathered from completed Reports. Click here to check it out.