Yesterday, I posted how my ninth-grade mainstream English students evaluated our class and me. Today, it’s time to report how my IB Theory of Knowledge felt about our class.
As regular readers know, I’ve been publicly posting the results of these anonymous evaluations — warts and all — for years, as well as sending them directly to our school’s administrators and my colleagues. I think students knowing this tend to take them a little more seriously.
TOK is a very fun class, and, as the evaluations indicate, students tend to enjoy it as much as I do. Of course, it helps a lot that there are so few — if any — classroom management issues. The class is typically composed of IB Diploma candidates and a substantial number of non-Diploma candidates who I specifically recruit because it’s fairly easy to make the class accessible to just about everyone.
This year’s TOK evaluations, like every year, include gentle critiques from a few students wanting me to be a little more strict. That sentiment does not appear to be widespread, so I’m not going to worry about it.
The recurring issue in these evaluations that I am going to worry about is the lack of thinking about how to apply what they learn in this class in other aspects of their lives. I’m regularly disappointed in the response to this last question. Readers have left thoughtful comments in previous years sharing why they think I shouldn’t be concerned about this, but I’m still not convinced. I continue to be eager to hear more advice….
Here are the results:
1) What are the two or three most important things you have learned in this class?
Seeing all sides of the story.
Learning how to think, not only in one way but in many different ways.
How to prepare presentations better and faster.
To have an open mind.
One has to think about others and realize that they see things differently.
I learned how to overcome the fears of presenting.
2. What you liked about this class or how it was taught?
The teaching was interesting and fun.
I liked the many different ways of learning that were provided throughout the year.
I liked how everything was more laid back than other classes. Everything was fun.
It made me got rid of my fear of presenting in front of people.
Mr. Ferlazzo was engaging and allowed his students to take the initiative.
I liked that we got to work with each other instead of having to do everything on our own.
I liked that the class was not too stressful and that you worked with us on deadlines.
3. How do you think this class could be improved?
This class could be improved by being more strict with the deadlines.
Mr. Ferlazzo could better enforce his deadlines.
Give out less paper.
No improvement needed.
4. What grade would you give Mr. Ferlazzo as a teacher. What do you think he does well? What do you think he could improve?
I would give him an A because he finds the way to help everyone even things you don’t understand.
I would grade Mr. Ferlazzo an A because he is a very engaging teacher; he knows how to teach his students.
A — his is very flexible, but sometimes too flexible. He needs to be more firm.
A+ — he can stop tolerating unappreciative kids.
A, very good teacher, be more strict.
5. Are there ways you think that what you learned in this class will help you in the future? If so, what are they?
Not judging books by their covers and always keeping an open mind.
Help me in making presentations better.
Just want to let you know how much I appreciate your blog and tweets. After teaching high school in China (Canadian Curriculum) for six years I walked into my middle school classroom last September totally green. I was hired 3days before school started to teach French, a language I hadn’t spoken for several years, to a group of young people about whom I had zero understanding of their developmental stage or SEL needs. Needless stay, the first year has been messy.
When I started on following you on twitter and I came across your teacher evaluations I thought to myself, this is brave. Wanting to move forward in my own practise, I decided to try it. Many evaluations were just as I expected, but on the other hand many students responded positively. Looking ahead to next year I have a clear vision for my class. I expect that some days will still be messy, but I also know that despite those days I can build connections with the kids and provide learning opportunities that will engage.
I’m not sure I would have had the courage to elicit feedback if it wasn’t for your openness. Thank you for all that you do!
What a nice comment — thanks! I hope you have a great summer and even better second year!