It is as important to hear from students “feedback” on your practices as reflecting upon your own teaching. The latter, while it helps teachers arrive at self-realization, is very personal, thus a second perspective would no doubt enhance a teacher’s professional understanding further. This in mind, I decided to spare the last hour of my lesson for feedback on “my way” from the class that I had been teaching for eight weeks.
When informed about my intention, my students felt excited because no teacher, as they claimed, had asked them to evaluate their teaching before. Long story short, the whole class agreed to give me feedback by answering the questions that follow:
- What did you like most about our lessons?
- What did you like least about our lessons?
- What were your expectations? Were they met?
- What would you have done if you had been the teacher?
After looking through the answers that all twenty-two students provided to the questions, I found out that they had really taken my request seriously and analyzed the two-month module we spent together in detail. Therefore, I think it is worth sharing everything that they have written in a series of blog posts, which means that this post is about the answers to the first question.
To start with, four points about my classroom practice stick out among a variety of responses. These points are that I provide a quantity of exercises for any subject matter (13 students); I teach out of the course book (7 students); I employ effective techniques to teach any skill (6 students); and my lessons are fun (8 students). It makes me especially happy that these four points on which I have always tried to improve myself were picked out by the students. As is known to those of you who follow my blog regularly, I do not like to assume that students understand or know any one thing, thus doing everything in my power to constantly check for understanding and create chances for practice, and I intend to do all that by modifying what is in the book or even introducing something else that is not there. Although I usually use the techniques and apply the methods that most teachers do, I sometimes experiment with new ways, even to the point of “Dogme” in the classroom, which, in the end, appeals to students, and they think that lessons are fun.
In addition to those top four points, my students were really pleased when I spoke only English and managing to switch into Turkish to clarify certain aspects, particularly in grammar lessons. This is very important feedback because it shows that I can balance the use of target language and L1.
Moreover, it was written that revision activities for vocabulary studied helped the students to retain what was previously covered and build on that. I must say that the use of TEST-TEACH-TEST proved very useful with the revision.
Another thing that my class wrote was good about our lessons was that I sometimes pronounced new vocabulary like Spanish and French speakers. I do that because it usually works to attract students’ attention to the correct way or help them see what they do wrong. The bonus while doing it is that nobody is intimidated, and they even consider it an element of fun as they state.
Furthermore, my students wrote that they usually lost track of time due to numerous activities and their active involvement in them as pairs and groups. It is seen on the feedback papers that the class liked to participate in such activities for the fact that it was less stressful for them to work on tasks with their peers. I should confess here that I was not always in favour of such collaborative work, but it all changed when I attended the CELTA course, and now it is my priority.
Some of the feedback from my students also reveals that my confidence and comfort during lessons encouraged them to study harder, thus feeling more enthusiastic to learn and take me as a guide.
Finally, it is clearly seen in the words that the class kindly shared regarding my teaching that I was able to devise effective lessons throughout the module. This, for me, is very good news, for it is evidence that I have got to be a better teacher as a result of all the efforts I have been making since last year. Which teacher on earth would not be happy with the appreciation and recognition that their work gets from students, the real judges???