The Teacher Assessment Cycle: Becoming A Better Teacher

Wouldn’t you like to be the first person to know if your
lesson was a flop or your students misinterpreted your words or
intentions?  Whether you like it or not,
your students are continually evaluating your teaching materials and
instructional style.  Their opinions
travel quickly to peers, parents, tutors, advisors, and school
administrators.  Frequently, the last person
to hear this feedback is often the actual teacher.  In fact, this negative chatter, and exaggerations
can turn a minor incident or criticism into a big ordeal.  What’s more, the spread of negative gossip
can create lasting misconceptions.
Listen to Your Students Ideas and Opinions:
Allowing your students to evaluate your classroom materials,
assignments and approaches can provide the needed feedback right to the source
– you, the teacher. You will be surprised at the value of your students’ critiques.  My students have inspired some of my best
materials.
How Can Teachers Gather This Information?

·     Utilizing a questionnaire with a Likert Scale
can allow you to assess your students’ feedback quantitatively.   This
can be done for assignments, projects, lessons and more.
·     Offer a suggestion box, where students can
anonymously submit their feedback. 
Weekly, you can review the comments, and if needed, discuss the advice
with the class.
·     Allocate 10 minutes a week for students to
discuss their ideas, favorite lessons and materials as well as critiques and concerns. 
How Can Teachers and Students Benefit from The Teacher
Assessment Cycle?
·    Students know what is “cool” for their
generation, and they can help keep you abreast of the motivating fads.
·    Students can discover how to be mindful of what
they are learning and to generate and share their creative ideas.
·    Students will learn the value of accepting
feedback.
·    Students can be empowered participants in the
design of the curriculum.  In fact, if
your students feel that they have a voice in your approach, they will be more
motivated to complete the work. 
·    Students come to your class with a wealth of
experience and knowledge, and they are their own best experts.
·    Students can develop their critical reasoning
skills.
·    Students learn through example, and they will
often imitate the behaviors of their teachers. 
Therefore, if you listen to your students, they will be more apt to
listen to you. 
·    Students can learn communication skills.  If inappropriate or hurtful words are
expressed during an evaluation, you can use this as a lesson tool.  Teach your students how to turn negative
criticism into positive advice.   The
class can practice how to communicate their feelings in a way that gets their
message across without hurting the recipient’s feelings and also achieving their
desired outcome.
·    Students might make you aware of issues that you
innocently overlooked.  For example, just
yesterday when I was working with a student, Maddy.  She had to complete a portfolio assignment
for her math class, and one of the requirements was to make the presentation as
colorful as possible.  Maddy was troubled,
as she did not have access to a color printer, while many of her peers
did.   She was afraid that she would be graded down
for this and spent a lot of time hand coloring the images, knowing that her
attempt to mimic a color printout was second rate.   At the
end of the assignment, the teacher allowed Maddy to rate this project and make
recommendations for the future.  Maddy
was pleased to communicate her concerns and shared that some students in the
class could not afford a color printer.  In
another instance, I learned that, “some Native American Tribes consider it to
be taboo to show students animals such as snakes or owls.”  This was valuable feedback, because I often
use images of animals in my lessons and was innocently unaware of this
offensive behavior.
Clearly, accepting student
evaluations will help you to be a life-long learner, an expert on your students’
needs as well as better, kinder, teacher. 
I would love to hear your feedback.  If you would like a free copy of Dr. Warren’s printable assessments, CLICK HERE

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com, www.learningtolearn.biz  
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