Although I try not to over-assess my students, they still come under scrutiny from me in terms of their work and approaches to learning. It only seems fair then, that I come under scrutiny from them. So, it is quite a long standing tradition that I issue a survey at the end of each year, and then set targets for the following year, based on student input. When I started teaching, this was as much to affirm that I was doing the right thing: of late it has become an exercise in ongoing professional development, as I seek to hone my craft and improve what it is that I offer to my students. This year’s survey was issued a few weeks ago, and with 33% of students having responded, it seemed like a good time to have a look at the results, make some judgements, and feedback to students. The result was the email below:
Thanks to all of you who took the time to complete the ICT feedback survey I sent out a couple of weeks ago. I appreciate your time and candour: your honest input is really useful as I try and become a better teacher. Below I will summarise some of the conclusions I have come to from your data, if you are interested in following up.
In total, 46 people filled out the survey, which is 33% of all ICT students at ICHK. Although not a high number in absolute terms, this is a reasonable percentage for survey responses, and so should allow us to draw some useful, if not definitive, conclusions.
I will split the feedback into several sections, as highlighted below. Things you might want to take action on are marked in red.
It seems that on the whole, Y7-9 students at ICHK value their ICT education, and feel it is worthwhile, as indicated by a mean of 3.8, and the distribution seen below. This is something I feel in the classroom, with most students working hard and trying to learn as much as they can from their classroom time.
Over the course of this year I have made an effort to shift more interactions towards adult-to-adult (in Transactional Analysis terms). Although I know I am still not doing this as much as I would like, your feedback suggests I have improved.
Although we piloted Free Learning last year, this was the first year in which we have done a lot of it. On the whole it has proven popular (as shown below), although there were some concerns about not having enough variety of topics, and in the balance of time for free vs traditional learning. These are points I will try and address in the section below.
In terms of what might be improved, the following stand out:
- Free Learning Variety
- Some students commented that there are not enough Free Learning units in areas they are interested in.
- At current I am working to add in some HT units, which will intersect with ICT, and which you can study using your ICT class time.
- Other teachers are starting to add content to Free Learning too. Eventually we hope to have a massive library of units, with areas of interest for everyone.
- If you have any suggestions for things you would like to see, please let me know by reply email.
- Free Learning Balance
- At current Y7 is light on Free Learning, whilst Y8 is heavy. I will see if there is anything I can do to adjust this in the coming year.
- If there are any normal units you think should be dropped or moved, or if you have strong views on this area, let me know by reply email.
- Outdoor Time
- We have had a little more outdoor lessons this year, but according to at least 8 of you, still not enough.
- If you want to work outdoors, ask at the beginning of any lesson. I can’t always say yes, due to the nature of the lesson, but will try to make this happen as much as I can.
- Air Conditioning
- As with every year, quite a few of you commented on the AC situation in C108 (although this year no one commented on the smell, which is one of the things I aimed to improve this year ; )
- This is one thing I really will not compromise on, as it is a core belief for me, for the following reasons:
- The more aircon you use, the hotter you feel when you go outdoors: I sweat much less than I used to now that I use less AC.
- Hong Kong’s air is often very polluted, partly due to our reliance on coal to power our homes, schools and offices. Anything we can do to reduce our output of airborne pollutants is positive…this is also why I choose not to drive a car to school.
- Our atmosphere is accumulating CO2 at an alarming rate, and we are only beginning to understand the possible negative effects of this, as express through climate change. Anything we can do to limit this is good.
- We are running down global supplies of fossil fuels, and should prepare for a future where we have less energy to feast on: why cool the air, just so it can be immediately heated by nature?
- Humans have thrived for thousands of years with no air conditioners. Yes, you might be hot and uncomfortable, but we are a resilient species, and grit is something you can learn through practice. Train your mind to ignore the discomfort.
- In short, you experiencing air-conditioning in C108 is about as unlikely as me becoming an iPhone user, tourist travel to Mars or Donald Trump acting like a nice human being.
- Sometimes it is worth standing by beliefs you feel are right, even if they are unpopular. Sorry!
Apologies for the long post. Here is a Creative Commons potato (by Fk on Wikimedia Commons, shared under CC BY-SA):
Have a great summer : )
PS, This email is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.