The end of the school year and the summer time is a reflective time for me, as I am sure it is for most educators. An important part of my reflection is the feedback I receive from my students. In this article, we'll explore the importance of feedback in teaching and learning and simple feedback strategies for elementary teachers. Below you will also discover free printable student feedback form templates!
Simply put, teachers cannot improve or progress if they have no sense of how their teaching impacts students.
Getting feedback from students is often eye-opening, humbling, validating, and motivating for teachers. Each year, it is crucial for educators to get student feedback in order to know what was and was not effective during the year.
I've found that my outgoing students play an invaluable role in helping me select my mentor texts, small group texts, and books to suggest in literature circles for the next school year. In addition, getting feedback from my elementary students helps me identify what units or activities did not work, how I can adjust my teaching style to reach ALL learners, and areas I am succeeding in the classroom!
Below are the three areas I ask my elementary students for feedback.
Instructional materials are all the mentor texts, the small group texts, and the books that I have suggested to literature circles.
Students give me feedback on my instructional materials throughout the school year. I constantly take notes on any informal feedback my students offer, such as their thoughts on the novels we have read or their feelings about projects and activities we completed on the texts covered.
I openly share with my students that their feedback on our reading material is important to the students a year below them, because their feedback helps me select books for the following year.
Keep Reading Inventories Throughout the School Year
After every book we read as a group (whole class, small group, or literature circle), I ask my students to reflect on that book in their “Reading Inventory.”
Every student I work with has an ongoing “Reading Inventory” to state if they would recommend the book that they just read, as well as a place for them to critique the book. This “Reading Inventory” serves two purposes.
First, it provides helpful feedback for me regarding my materials selection for the following year. I continue to use picture and chapter books that my students have given good reviews. The books that are unpopular, I rethink—both the text and my purpose for selecting it. I usually end up replacing those books with more engaging texts.
Second, a reading inventory is a great way for my students to keep a record of all the books that they have read throughout the school year.
The Reading Inventory is available for you to download.
Units and lesson plans are the actual teaching points we covered throughout the school year.
I collect feedback on my units and lesson plans throughout the year as well. I jot down notes about things that went well or comments my students have made, both positive and negative, following a lesson.
The formal feedback I get from my students is based on the data collected from the work they produce. If all of my students do well, that can be the sign of a successful unit, or it can also be a sign that the unit was too easy. I then look closely at the unit including the objective, materials, and my teaching.
On the other hand, if all of my students do poorly, the unit needs a complete overhaul.
Getting student feedback from assessments can also help pinpoint strengths and weakness in the unit, based on the questions the students did well or poorly on.
Throughout the years, I have found that some of the most helpful and critical feedback about my units and lessons actually comes from myself. I try to be very critical of the lessons I teach and genuinely reflect on what went well and what I need to improve upon.
Unfortunately, I have a long commute to and from work, which gives me plenty of reflection time.
Student Feedback Form Template to Use at End of the School Year
Although I constantly take notes throughout the year about the effectiveness of lessons and activities, I always survey my students at the end of the school year. Students may not be able to recall many of the lessons, but the ones they do remember usually made the strongest impressions, whether positive or negative.
This basic student feedback form template can be reproduced and used in the classroom to get constructive comments and insights about lessons and activities. Its important to note that students have the option of remaining anonymous when filling out the feedback form template.
Download the Student Feedback Questionnaire and use it to get feedback from students.
Teaching style is how I have implemented my lessons in the classroom.
I find surveys to be a very useful tool for getting feedback from students about my teaching style.
There are many surveys that you can create and that students can complete online. I find these surveys are most useful when I am looking for numerical data, averages or commonalities because often the tabulation is completed by the survey engine.
I prefer paper and pencil surveys when I am collecting data on a more personal level because I like to refer back to the information provided by each individual student. I find it is easier to look back through paper surveys for individual responses rather than surveys on the computer.
The survey I am always most excited (and a little nervous) about giving to my students is the End-of-the-Year Feedback Sheet. This feedback sheet gives students the opportunity to share their thoughts about the school year, including lessons, units, activities, and teaching. Getting feedback from students about your teaching can be scary, but I find it to be very helpful.
I appreciate the honesty and constructive criticism my students have offered over the years. This feedback from my students has helped shape me into the teacher I am today.
Download the End-of-the-Year Feedback Sheet to use with your students this year.
Asking your students for their feedback about your choice of instructional materials, your unit and lesson plans, and your teaching style will help you plan for the following year. It will also shape you into a better teacher, year after year.