Episode 43: A different approach to: STUDENT FEEDBACK

feedback podcast May 24, 2023
student feedback

I've always approached student feedback a little differently! I am excited to share WHY and HOW with you in this episode!

Click here to download my free end of year student survey!
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Welcome to Teaching la vida loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity and guidance in centering joy, and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most, our students, I'm your host, Annabelle, most people call me la maestra loca. And I'm an educator just like you, and inspiring teachers is what I do. Hey there, welcome to podcast number 43 of teaching la vida loca, really glad you're here. I'm hoping this one will be short and sweet. I want to talk to you about how I gather student feedback, because it's a little bit different than the way other people do it. And the first thing that I will say is that, if your brain immediately goes to, nope, I don't want to get their feedback. That's okay. Because I think that many people are there and have been there, and perhaps have been there more frequently since COVID. Because this profession has shifted, and things have changed dramatically. And we know what students don't like in our classroom, we hear it all year long. So, to feel apprehensive or unsure about wanting to gather feedback about what you can do better, as a teacher, you are doing amazing, as a teacher to be clear, you shouldn't feel like bad or any type of way about not wanting to gather that feedback. That's why I wanted to create this podcast.   

Student Feedback

I've talked about the way I gather student feedback in blogs and all over Instagram. And I've been doing it the same way for years now. And I haven't yet shared on my podcast. So, in case you haven't yet heard how I do this, then yay. I'm glad you're here listening; I do have a resource for you. It's a free download that I put out two years ago. That creates a fourth copy of a Google form. You could totally edit that and make it more elementary friendly. I would say it's very middle of the road. It's something that I created when I was teaching in middle school. So, it felt very appropriate for sixth, seventh to eighth language wise, but you might want to alter it a little bit for littles, if you have littles, it'll work perfectly for your high schoolers too.  

Frame It for Students

There's two pieces to this, the first piece is framing it for students, I don't tell them that it's for me. And that's a personal choice, you may just tell them, Okay, this is for me, I'm gathering feedback. I tell them that ACTFL, the association that, you know, we are all under world language teachers, I tell them to ACTFL sent it out for all world language teachers to give to their students and that it's mandatory. I make it sound like it's like a mandatory thing I have to do as a world language teacher. And I tell them that is because I don't have any state testing. I'm like, well, you know how there's not a Spanish Leap Test, Leap Test is what we do in Louisiana. I'm like, well, this is what I am forced to do. So, we have to just take a day of English and y'all have to complete it. And it's totally anonymous. And that's not a lie. I make it completely and totally anonymous. There's no name on there. There's no plot spot for an email. It is completely anonymous. And I tell them that ACTFL gets the results. And I do that because I want them to be honest. And wait till you hear the questions. I just said that. It's okay. If you don't want that feedback. The way I frame the questions are very intentional. But I tell them that basically, it's a survey across the nation to see how language classes are operating across the nation. 

Frame It Intentionally

And then, the second piece to this is that I frame the questions very intentionally. So, the kids think that I may or may not see this data. And if I do see the data, it's going to be bulk data that comes to me, I won't see their names. And then the questions are framed in a way that I am going to be hearing what went well for kids. I'm going to be hearing what they felt successful with. I'm going to be hearing the ways in which I helped them understand the Spanish I was speaking not the ways that I totally confused them or the ways that I made them suffer greatly because I made them right heaven forbid, or the way they hated that I was deskless all year. I don't have a lot of those, but I do have a few of them that don't like that I'm deskless, but I already know the complaints like I said, I already know the feedback that is not positive, I want to hear what went well, so that I can do more of it. I want to hear what they loved. Because sometimes, actually, frequently, I learned things that I'm like, wait, I had no idea that y'all loved that as much as you did. For example, this year, my students absolutely loved learning about the movie, in Mexico, and all of these indigenous, all these indigenous peoples' stories that I created into tiny, itty bitty mini units, and I kind of sprinkled throughout the year, that came up as like the third favorite thing we do in Spanish class. And I had no idea I thought it was, you know, actually probably lower on the list, because it was a lot of reading. And reading isn't always their favorite thing. So, I was really excited to learn that that ranks so high, but I wouldn't have known if I hadn't done this end of year survey, right. So, that's what I call it and call it the end of the year survey. And say it's from ACTFL, I give them a link in Google Classroom, and they fill out this Google Form. Yes, I did do it with third and fourth grade with my littles. I just changed the language in my original one. Um, to get the link for the Google Form in case you want a copy of the Google Form, you can go to my website, it's linked on my website, or you can find the link in the show notes. And you'll be able to get a forced copy and edit it to your liking. I use the words target language a lot instead of Spanish, because obviously, there are teachers of different languages in here, right. 


So, yeah, let's get started, I want to tell you about some of these questions. One of my favorite questions to ask is just to get their perception on how much target language I'm speaking in my classroom. So, one of the questions is specifically like how much time is spent listening, reading, writing, you know, in the target language, how much time do you hear your teacher using the language, because I really like to see their perception of that. Because my goal is always 90 or 95%, or more. But it took me a long time as a teacher to get there. It wasn't until my like fifth year of teaching with acquisition driven instruction, my fifth year of teaching, that's all I've ever done. But wasn't until then that I really felt confident in my ability to stay in the target language 90% of the time or more. I also really like asking that question that I mentioned before, in what ways does your teacher help you understand when they are speaking in the target language? Not always when do you don't understand, how often do you not understand because there will be those kids who never understand, I have no idea what's going on. just to spite you. Even if you're like me, you do know, you do understand I'm sorry, you're in a bad mood today and you decided to destroy this feedback form. And then it's, I really enjoy asking questions, to get them to recognize the way that the movement that I incorporate into class, help them the way that the brain breaks, differ from other spaces that they're in throughout the day. So, there's a couple questions related to how my class might feel different in their day compared to others. My favorite thing that's been coming up lately in the last couple of years related to that is, kids are really recognizing the social emotional work that I do in here, which I was mostly looking for that brain break and that movement, stuff, but kids are acknowledging like, we always have a check in my maestra is always asking how we're doing. And she really wants to know, she wants us to be talking about how we're feeling. On some days, we just talk and like they're acknowledging that which is really special that they're in acknowledging it and feeling up, which is awesome. I asked the question, and this is one that you may want to eliminate. But I asked the question, does your teacher enjoy what they do? The reason I do that is because I really want to know whether my students are perceiving that I enjoy my job, because as soon as the majority of kids or even, you know, 30% of kids think that I don't enjoy what I'm doing is going to be assigned for me to maybe think about shifting in this profession or possibly moving to part time and presenting more. 


So far, I've been very, very pleased with result of that question. But I work very hard on centering joy in my classroom and enjoying what I do. And it is why I haven't stepped out of the classroom, I have people all the time at conferences asked me why I'm not consulting full time, I could make easily triple my teacher salary if I were to leave the classroom and consult full time. But that doesn't bring me joy right now in my life. And what I like right now is that I can relate to teachers because I am in the classroom, there might be a time where I want to like to lessen my load in the classroom and move to presenting more. But right now, I find equal joy in being in my classroom as I do with doing this with you and giving you inspiration. So, this survey is one way I can gain insight into my student’s perception of whether I enjoy what I do. And then they can give reasons why they know that. I also really like to ask them, like, if you were a new student coming to the classroom, tell them what they're going to enjoy the most, what's the best activity that we do? Or what's one way that that student can find success in my classroom? Those are really fun questions to ask.  And then, of course, I let them tell me what their favorite activity is, and why and what they felt most successful with, and why and what their favorite brain break is, and why. I also let them do a mini self-assessment on the rubric like which is the easiest for them to meet on our interpersonal and interpretive communication rubric. And I have it pasted in there in case you want to use it. I know that lots of you use the rubric that I put out seven or eight years ago on interpersonal and interpretive communication; it's basically participation to be clear. But they assess on what is easiest to attain on that rubric high scores on and what feels most challenging. And it's really interesting seeing that data. Because it's very different this year with elementary than it was last year. And I'm using the same rubric. It's very interesting to see which ones are the most challenging for middle school, middle school, it was always, not having side conversations was always the most challenging. And that wasn't the case of my elementary kiddos. My elementary kiddos, the bigger challenge for them was they felt speaking in the target language, which I totally disagree. They've done a really good job. This year, most of my classes, engaging in the target language, but I did a lot of work to like build that culture of speaking the target language, I actually have three podcast episodes on that. So, if you want to listen to those, go back and listen. But it might be more appropriate to listen to that at the beginning of next year, when you are starting the year, because right now we're wrapping it up. And I am wrapping up this episode short and sweet.

Extra Question

Gathering student feedback, I really hope that oh, tip at the end, you can leave a little question anything else you want your teacher to know, make it optional. The hope is that it's only positive stuff in there. Sometimes that's where they sneak in the negative. So, if you don't feel like leaving that, then don't leave it. But I did leave it this year. And it was really special to get most of those comments in. I would say 90% of them were really, really wonderful messages. And some really silly. Like, did you know and it was like a random fact, I love fourth grade. Okay, have a great rest of your year. I know some of you might already be out of school. Some of you might be finishing this week. And I know some of you who have a month left. I know that this podcast is later than I wanted it to be. I have been going through a lot personally. Those of you who follow me on social media know that I have been pretty entirely absent. And I know that those of you on my email list know that I emailed you all about being absent. But things have been really, really hard lately. Been pelted with lots and lots of lemons. And it's they're really hard ones. It's really hard to squeeze the lemonade out of them. But I'm doing okay, and I'm really looking forward to getting some rest in June. But more on that later. Enjoy the rest of your day. Whenever you listen to this. Please pass it on to an educator who might need it right now, who might need to get some positive feedback on what has gone really well for kids this year. And don't be afraid to not ask those questions that are going to solicit negative thoughts and negative comments that you don't need to hear and you already know what they don't like. You're doing great teacher. I'm so grateful for you. And I'll talk to you very soon. Take care. Hi there, if I have helped you lately or made you smile or made you laugh or made you try something new in your classroom, or inspired you or uplifted you in some way, could you do me a favor and go to apple and review my podcast for me? Pretty please. I would appreciate it so very much. And it means a lot to me when I get to sit down and read your thoughts and how I've impacted you. And it also helps other teachers find me so yay. In turn, you'll be helping others. Doesn't that feel good? You'll be helping me and helping others. Oh my gosh, that's so good. Okay, thank you please, and thank you and bye see you next time.

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