You can tell from the title that this post is the second part of a two part series about Teacher Report Cards. Click here to read part one.
A bit of Background
Our School uses The Art and Science of Teaching (ASOT) as our Pedagogical and Developing Performance Framework. We have used Dimensions of Learning (DoL) for a number of years and now we are beginning to use ASOT as well. The key team has chosen for us to focus on learning goals and useful feedback. While I had been focussing on giving my students better feedback, I hadn’t told them that’s what I was doing. This sounds kind of silly now that I think about it.
I decided to do this activity during the first lesson after interim reports had been distributed and students had taken them home. Students knew that what they said on the Teacher Report Card would not have an impact on their own report. This is important for ensuring honest responses from students.
Introducing the Teacher Report Card
I began the lesson with a short vocabulary exercise. I wrote ‘feedback’ on the board and asked the students to write what they knew about the word and what they thought it meant. This was an interesting exercise which brought out a few misconceptions the students had and gave me an opportunity to explain what feedback really means. I then showed the Teacher Report Card to the students and told them that I needed some feedback from them. They liked this idea and most of them took the activity seriously. 😀
Click to see the TEACHER REPORT CARD end TERM 1 that I hand to students for their feedback.
What Now? Collating the Data
While it is nice to sit down and read the Reports individually and think about my interactions with certain students, it is important to bring the information together. Collating the data makes it easier to choose one or two areas for focus in the future instead of trying to improve all the skills and perhaps not making any progress whatsoever. I was very proud of myself doing this electronically. I opened Microsoft Word and used the “insert chart” function to tally my grades in a table (click here to view a how-to guide). When the table was completed, a graph was automatically created. There are about 20 different ‘chart’ options and it only took a few clicks to find the chart that was easiest for me to read.
Here is a copy of the final chart I used.
Reading and Using the Information
I then used the drawing tools to circle and highlight areas in which I had been awarded high grades as well as those with lower grades.
The chart above is circled to show the areas that I have ‘passed’ according to every students. I am particularly proud of the pink bubble. This shows that all the students have awarded me with an A-C grade for ‘making behaviour and work expectations clear’. It was a personal goal to be consistent in my classroom and communicate clear expectations. As far as I’m concerned, I get a big tick for that! The purple bubbles show three areas were I have been awarded high grades: no E’s! Students have observed that I am co-operative with adults and students in the classroom, I have positive interactions with all the students and I help students to learn new things. While I would like to have only A grades for these areas, I have to be realistic and remember that not every student will be perfectly happy with my practice.
The brown bubbles on this chart highlight the areas where the grades are spread more evenly towards the lower end of the grading scale. I decided that these need to be my focus areas for next term. I will admit that while I am working on giving students better feedback, it is not always immediate. I was surprised by the results of the “ready to teach” area. I want to discuss this further with my students after the holiday. Apart from ‘feedback’ our school is focussing on ‘sharing learning goals’ with all students during all lessons. The fact that my grades for this one were generally low, is a bit sad. It is definitely a set of skills that I need to work on, not only because it is a school expectation but because I know sharing learning goals with my students is good practice.
Setting Goals for the Future
After viewing the charts above, reading the comments my students made on the reports and considering ASOT goals of our school, I wrote the following goals for the next term.
- Write/ Plan clear learning goals and lesson focus points.
- Distribute and Display learning goals in the classroom; refer to these throughout each lesson.
- Ask students what being “ready to teach” looks like. Make a checklist of characteristics of a teacher who is ‘ready to teach’ and review it once a week. Share this checklist with students and ensure that I am prepared for lessons.
- Discuss a structure for feedback in the classroom (with students and other teachers) and implement this weekly. Use a class list to provide immediate and useful feedback to students at least once a week.
A Final Thought
Teachers have a big job with pressures coming from all directions. It is difficult for any of us to admit that we might be able to do our jobs better and it might be difficult to ask for feedback from our colleagues. Placing yourself in a position where students are able to ‘criticise’ us is courageous. However allowing students to give you feedback is pointless if you do not collate it and use the information to improve your teaching. Student feedback must be taken with a proverbial grain of salt and teacher response should be measured. Teachers give feedback to our students often and it makes sense to turn the tables once in a while.