Like I mentioned in my previous blog post, teaching calls for extensive observation and the gathering of data, facts, and information. Quantifying and analyzing student-related data allows us to plan our lessons according to the way our students learn best.
As an educator, you might have already learned the single most important thing when planning and implementing your lessons – the importance of questions. The question I am currently trying to wrap my head around is: How can I use students’ feedback to feed into lesson planning and activity design?
I have decided to benefit from the practice of gathering research to construct meaning and gain an understanding of impactful activities. The goal of this survey is to understand what activities/ engagements students enjoyed and remembered best. To make things easy for students, I provided them with answers to choose from. Nevertheless, some children also gave answers of their own. Interviews were conducted in private at the end of the school year.
- Which team did you like the most?
a) Fruits/Veggies – April, May, June, July
b) Countries – September, October, November
c) Classes – February, March
2. What is your best memory?
3. What activity did you enjoy the most?
4. Who do you want to thank?
Out of the three team groupings majority of the students (63%) were satisfied with their participation in the Countries team. What I am mostly curious about is: Why did the kids enjoy this particular group/theme over the other two? Could it be that these kids, learners of English as a second language, exhibit heightened interest in world knowledge? Or does this testify to children’s natural tendency to be interested and curious about about unknown territories and lesser-known topics (versus things they are familiar with, such as fruits/vegetables).
This helps me understand how to formulate and present topics – by linking them to their geographic origin. When learning the art of ‘paper folding’, talk about Japanese culture. When learning about fruits, position them on the map according to their origin or greatest number produced.
Acting and Performing received the greatest number of votes from both girls and boys as their favorite activity. It also happens that those who chose “performing” also selected “Countries” as their favorite team.
Boys expressed preference for more hands-on and educational activities – such as making and inventing things as well as learning English while girls enjoyed playing and self-expressive activities such as our Show and Tell (which at times happened to be a continuation of our Making and Inventing sessions).
Performing received the most votes in both “Best Memory” and “Favorite Activity”. What this tells me is that children appreciate collaborative, creative activities where they get in the shoes of their favorite characters. Performances let children witness the creative process – from researching, selecting, polishing, perfecting to communicating and delivering the outcome. They see for themselves how dedication and hard work pay off. Learning, in itself, is a continuous process. No worksheet can ever produce the knowledge learners acquire through experiential learning.
Friends seem to be of greater importance for boys than for girls (4 boys and 1 girl voted for friends). Whereas, teachers and family appear to be more important for girls (3 girls and 1 boy voted for Family, 2 boys and 4 girls voted for teachers).
This gives us some insight into how to influence kids to modify their unacceptable behaviors by making a reference to the people negatively impacted by their decisions.
What came as a surprise was that those kids who direct their gratitude towards their family used to be part of team “Ethiopia”.
To all the readers, thank you for taking the time to go through my research. If the findings resonate with you, please share your experience in the comment section. Also, please feel free to share your observations if you happen to notice any other relationships or patterns in the data presented.