Monday, 6 January 2014

Using pupil feedback to improve teaching

At the end of every lesson, I try to evaluate my teaching. I've even thought about giving myself DIRT on my timetable so that it's not just the students who are doing explicit improvement and reflection. Towards the end of a major unit however, it's difficult to evaluate how effective your teaching has been. Of course, I could look at test results, but sometimes the test doesn't catch everything. It may tell you that your teaching of x, y and z was ineffective but it won't tell you why. This is where pupil feedback can help.

Laura Mcinerney once asked the daring question, "Should teachers publish the test scores of their classes"  . I wondered what would happen if I published the pupil feedback of all my classes. It has certainly forced me to reflect more honestly and openly about my own practice.

You can find the original pupil survey here: http://goo.gl/W2mRPk . I have been selective with the publishing of my results, generally ignoring repeats and responses where students replies were too general and not actionable e.g. "Mr Lau was great".


What could Mr Lau have done differently / better:
  • let us figure out what has gone wrong with our code.
  • Maybe give us more time to actually try ourselves rather than watching the board quite often. I also think it would be useful to sometimes have a quick break from python and try something else like scratch for one lesson
  • Explain coding simpler and talk a bit less so we have time to get the work done better.
  • he could have showen a demo of what he wants us to do
  • Mr lau could have simplified the technical language.
  • come round to every one
  • Maybe explain in more detail.
  • Explane more clearly
  • put more computing lessons on the time table.


Analysis and Response: Students have raised the issue that I help them too readily. Whilst a growth mindset and persistence is abundant in the majority of our students, it appears that in my teaching, I could demonstrate these learning habits more by helping students less, offering more waiting time and responding with questions rather than answers. Several students also thought that explanations could be clearer; teaching computer programming for the first time, I think this is to be expected but I will try to observe more experienced Computing teachers. Key words and language was also raised as an issue, so I think a Vocab list for each unit would be helpful. On the positive side, many students replied with “nothing” on the improvements list with the last comment of putting “more computing lessons on the time table” brightening up my day.

What would you like Mr Lau to do more of
  • Letting us work on our own, a bit more .
  • more of prasing people
  • Demonstrate code before sending us to do work.
  • more work on your own
  • come round to more people
  • explained things and use more visual things like pictures


Analysis and Response: Firstly, Praise praise praise, it’s an invaluable currency. Secondly, many students preferred working on their own. I think I have done paired programming for several reasons, firstly because the research suggests it can be the most effective way of coding: 
http://www.cs.pomona.edu/classes/cs121/supp/williams_prpgm.pdf

The second reason is because our laptop trolley rarely has a full class set of working laptops. However, I will certainly pilot more independent working and solo tasks next term. 

What would you like Mr Lau to do less of
  • Speaking to the whole class about something a few people have got wrong.
  • work sheets
  • stop showing people what to do if they are stuck.
  • Keep on showing us the board
  • To do less talking when teaching and to pick people to come and try the code on the interactive smartboard.
  • canstant doing hardcore lessons may be sometimes we could fun lessons
  • I would like to get on with the work straight away on the and have a learning objective on the table
  • stopping the how class when only a few people need to know things
  • speaking less at the start and giving us more time to practical work time.
  • dont explan to fings at wons


Analysis and Response: Early on in my career, I had a lot of helpless handraising. This was partly to do with my teaching and partly due to the culture of the school. I decided to combat this by judging when it would be appropriate to stop the whole class. If a student asked a question that I thought the whole class could benefit from hearing the answer to, I would stop them. No teacher likes repeating themselves afterall. It appears that my students don’t like this strategy as I am stopping the majority in order to help a small minority. I therefore plan to get around this by helping Student A with their problem, then when Student B asks me for help on the same problem, I could direct them to Student A. If Student C asks the same question, the chain continues. Whilst there are clear literacy issues (perhaps distorted by the use of computers and their association with txtspk), the last student makes a point about working memory and helping students remember. This reminds me of Willingham's work on helping students remember and learn.

Any other comments
  • stop 5 minutes early to put the computers away
  • computer science is fun
  • Thanks Mr Lau I am getting Better .
Nice.
print("Thanks Mr Lau again")
I think i need a new account sorry :( i will try to remeber please dont give me a detention soryy
  • It was very useful to work in partners and also rate and and have your own work rated.
  • my mum is impressed
  • Computing is such a unique subject to learn in a secondary school and I am so happy to participate in it as it is intresting, inspiring and useful if you want to have a future career in game making or something like that.
  • I have really enjoyed computer science this term I have had fun playing and exploring around laptops. Making chat bots and having challenges I have learnt a lot about computers and how they work. I am looking forward to doing more work this term and learning different things.
  • I have really enjoyed codeing i really like it some times i do it at home with my dad because he enjoys it to just like me.
  • PLEASE show us how to do spreadsheets through the medium of dance like in your old school.
Analysis and Response: Timing is an issue for me. I need to fit in an exit ticket, house points and packing away. That's a good 10 minutes before the end of a lesson. To close on a bright note- clearly computing is having a positive impact on many of our students. The highlight for me is the student who wrote a print command in Python in her comment!

How useful was this process for improving my teaching in general? I think it provided a great deal of stimulus for reflection and improvement. Using Google forms, I also managed to sneak in an exit ticket, which I quickly evaluated using conditional formatting.







As a result, some students will be due housepoints, whereas others will need mastery classes. 

After all this analysis, hopefully I can put some of these ideas into practice and feedback on the process. 

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