This year, our school is fortunate enough to be participating in the Visible Learning Plus program; a guided change process of professional development and practice. Visible Learning comes from John Hattie’s work in what is quickly becoming influential worldwide. This is no surprise as it is the largest collection and analysis into evidence-based research that investigates what actually works in schools when it comes to improving learning.
I have been interested in Hattie’s work for some time and have taken some of his principles on board, mainly around calculating effect sizes, providing feedback, and constructing meaningful learning intentions and success criteria for students. But I am excited that our school is undertaking this approach so that all teachers can think more deeply about the impact on their teaching and learning with their students.
Earlier in the year our staff was inducted into the program. One of the topics of conversation was the Visible Learning Checklist for teachers, which is a set of mind-frames for teachers to consider in order to make an effective impact as an educator. One of the mindeframes, “I seek regular feedback from my students”, stuck out in particular for me. In the last few years I have come to realize the merit of asking students for feedback on the teacher, but I don’t think it has been regular enough.
So this year I have been looking at ways of seeking feedback regularly. Using Google Apps (mainly forms and docs) has been a great way to collect feedback from students. Once a form has been setup, it is sent via a URL shortener and given to students. Students can easily enter their feedback, and the collection for the teacher is an absolute breeze. It makes reserving 2 mins at the end of the class really worthwhile, as you explain to students that their feedback will in turn make you a more effective teacher.
For me, seeking feedback assists in answering two critical questions when it comes to reflective practise, “what makes you an effective teacher?” and “how do you know your effect?“. I believe that educators can empower themselves immensely by listening openly to what students are saying about their practises.
Today I am speaking at Teachmeet Melb @ ESA on the notion of seeking feedback from students with and without technology. The presentation is called “Are you the best teacher you can be?” and the slides can be found here or below: