As regular readers know, I have my students regularly, and anonymously, evaluate our classes and me, and then share the results – warts and all – with administrators, colleagues and readers of this blog. You can see previous results, and resources, at The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).
My two IB Theory of Knowledge classes won’t be doing their evaluations until next week, but students in my two English Language Learner courses (a combination U.S. and World History class; and a combination Beginnner/Intermediate/Geography one) completed theirs last week.
Here are the results from my combined history class. I’ll post results from the other in a day or two. Feel free to chime in!
You can see the form I used here.
1. I did my best in this class… All but one said “most of the time.” I think that’s generally accurate, though I’d probably add two-or-three more students to that one who said “hardly ever.”
2. I liked this class… sixty percent said “most of the time” and forty percent said “some of the time.” I would have predicted that a slightly higher percentage would have said “most,” but I can live with this result.
3. Circle the activities that you felt helped you learn the most… Writing about the text book was number one by far. Students write a short summary and an interpretative question (we spent a lot of time learning about higher-order questioning) for each page or two pages in the textbooks; a vocabulary poster where they list five or seven words that are new to them, along with a definition in their own words and a picture; and a 3-2-1 poster for each chapter. Then, in addition to discussing the chapter, students teach their classmates about what they learned and wrote (see The Best Posts On Helping Students Teach Their Classmates — Help Me Find More).
Going to the computer lab came in second. One of the main tasks we do there are using the terrific, and free, interactives developed by SAS Curriculum Pathways.
Far below those two activities came clozes and data sets (for inductive learning) that I created (actually, I didn’t create most of them — prior student teachers did, and I suspect that’s why they weren’t a big favorite. It think it’s time for me revisit and revise them).
Tied for last place was “reading the textbook.” That’s a bit surprising to me, since students chose writing about the textbook as their number one most useful learning task. I think it’s a good book (Great Source Access World History). Because of this answer, and a few others, I’m creating a follow-up anonymous evaluation. One of the questions on it will be asking about the textbook.
4. Rank how much you learned in this class on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning you didn’t learn much and 5 meaning you learned a lot… Sixty percent of the class ranked it a 5, and most of the rest said 4. I would have obviously preferred a higher percentage at 5, but I can live with it.
5. Rank how hard you think Mr. Ferlazzo worked to prepare and teach the class on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning he didn’t work very hard and 5 meaning he worked very hard… Seventy percent gave me a 5 and the rest gave a 4. I think students recognized that teaching two different classes simultaneously (U.S. History students were in the front of the classroom, World History in the back) took a lot of work.
6. Rank how good of a teacher you think Mr. Ferlazzo is on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning he’s a terrible teacher and 5 meaning he’s a great teacher… Everyone gave me a 5. I was slightly surprised by the unanimity of that response, but pleased. However, this universally positive response resulted in me being perplexed by the results of question nine.
7. Rank how patient you think Mr. Ferlazzo is on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning he is not patient at all and 5 meaning he’s very patient… Forty percent ranked me at 5, forty percent at 4, and twenty percent at 3. I have to admit there were a few times that I felt I let my frustration show a little too much, so this is an area where I certainly can improve.
8. Rank how much you think Mr. Ferlazzo cares about your life outside of class,with 1 meaning he doesn’t care at all and 5 meaning he cares a lot… Fifty percent said 5, thirty percent said 4, and twenty percent said 2. I suspect that the lower numbers came from students who were doing quite well in and out of school. I, like many teachers, end up putting most of our time into students who are experiencing lots of challenges and less time with the ones who seem pretty stable. It’s another reminder to me to regularly touch base with everyone.
9. Would you want to take another class taught by Mr. Ferlazzo… Here’s the most surprising result — seventy-five percent said yes, but twenty-five percent said no. I don’t quite understand how everyone in the class can give me the highest rating as a teacher, but several then say they wouldn’t want me as a teacher again. I’m going to try to gain a better understanding of this in the follow-up evaluation I’ll be giving, and am very open to hearing theories from readers.
10. Do you think having the two classes combined was… Seventy-five percent said it didn’t make a difference, fifteen percent said it was bad and five percent said it was good. This is another point I’m going to ask students to elaborate on in a follow-up evaluation — I’d like to know why those who thought it was bad or good felt that way.
11. Do you think it is important to study history? If yes, why; If no, why not? Please try your best to write an answer to this question and give examples… This was the only questions that required students to write their own response, and I was disappointed. In retrospect, I shouldn’t be because I didn’t offer a good model. Everyone said they thought it was important to study the past but, except for two or three, no one provided a reason.
Here are the ones that did:
Yes, because history let you know how people live, survive and face challenge. Learn history help you learn from the past to help yourself. Example, reading about tactics from China long ago can help newer tactician plan better.
Yes, because if we study history we will know what happened in past and what’s gonna happen in future.
Yes, because it will help you know about history like if someone ask you about your country you will be able to tell him.
In the short follow-up evaluation I’ll be asking students to complete, I’m going to ask them to try responding to this question again and, this time, offer a model. I should have known better.
Comments are welcome (including if you have suggestions about questions I should include in my follow-up evaluation)