Wednesday 4 March 2015

#ililc5 Rory Gallagher @EddieKayshun Student feedback

In this excellent session, Rory talked about student feedback and teacher attitude to student feedback. Are we honest with ourselves? Do we really want to find out? We also need to qualify what you mean by feedback if you say that you get student feedback. There's a difference between:
Informal - oral, scribbled on paper or exercise books
Formal - structured interviews or surveys 
Do we trust our pupils? 

Here is a holistic overview of what would make a good teacher:

Timing is an issue as usual and you need to consider the ethics of who is going to use that data. However, before you are put off, Rory suggests that we take ownership of this student feedback before it gets imposed on us. The idea of feedback has been made negative and yet it can be a very rewarding process for the teacher and the class.  

The benefit of Rory's toolkit is that it displays strengths and weaknesses by category. Rory talked about radical collegiality - a way of working together, given that there aren't always levels of trust in in departments.  

We go back to the teachers who influenced us at primary school, that and the school are the bias that affect our teaching. Rory said that his aim was to get teachers to borrow the toolkit, try it with their own teaching and share it with a colleague. Then they could share strengths and weaknesses with colleagues to help each other with good practice. 

What are the benefits for the pupils? The moment you ask pupils their opinion seriously, the relationship changes. The moment they see you take their feedback on board, they buy into their learning. 
Rory also talked about listening to the silence, paralinguistics and non-verbal communication. He spoke of mindfulness, being in the moment. In line with several other speakers this #ililc5 weekend, he then talked about nurturing the positive relationships. If you find people are negative, Rory suggests being relentlessly optimistic which generally wears the negative people down. Listen to yourself, slow it down and open up. 
Rory has a Student feedback toolkit on Google Drive. The student survey is anonymous and Rory says it is vital to check with school that you can gather anonymous data in case of disclosures. 
You need to decide if you are doing it as a department or on your own, with all pupils or just one Key Stage. Finally you need to consider how will you share the feedback with the kids. 
Getting student feedback is about taking control of your job and your professional development. I did a similar thing years ago with Transforming Learning and I am excited to do this and see where it takes us. I'll keep you posted...  

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