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I Can Change

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
-Winston Churchill 

The first term of my 2015-16 school year has come to a close.  I have assessed my students. Now it is their time for them to assess me.  

My students need me to learn about physics. My feedback is intended to help them master the required skills and content.  But this is a two way street. My students are the ones who ultimately will give me the feedback that will make me a better teacher.  So, I asked my students for feedback on what the strengths of our classroom are and areas for change.  In order to guide the responses, I asked students to frame the discussion in terms of 15 elements from The Institute for Personalized Learning's Honeycomb Framework.

  1. Goals: Personalized goals to provide benchmarks and add focus, clarity and commitment to learning.

  1. Voice: Students have input in the classroom learning experience

  1. Choice: Students have choices in the classroom learning  experience

  1. Multiple instructional methods/modes: Instruction is offered using a variety of methods and modes in response to learner readiness, strengths, needs and interests.

  1. Rapid cycle feedback: Feedback is frequent and timely.

  1. Customized responsive instruction: Instruction and pacing are driven by individual learner needs and growing capacity for independent learning.

  1. Assessment of learning: Assessment of learning through multiple means such as performance, application, demonstration and student interaction with challenging content.

  1. Progressions toward deeper learning: Movement over time toward more expert understanding and sophisticated ways of thinking about a concept or idea.

  1. Standards guided learning: Learners understand and can articulate standards, utilizing them to guide their learning experiences.

  1. Learner independence: Learners have the capacity to learn and work independently, without heavy dependence on external structures and supports.

  1. Co-designers of learning: Learners and educators work together to design learning experiences and determine how proficiency is demonstrated.

  1. Recognition of anytime/anywhere learning: Standards-based proficiency is recognized no matter where or when learning occurs.

  1. Learning aligned technology: Technology is used as a tool to modify or redesign learning tasks. It enhances, deepens or accelerates understanding and mastery of content.

  1. Flexible learning spaces: Comfortable physical spaces are conducive to collaborative learning, responsive to the needs of learners, and support individual, small-group and large-group instruction.

  1. Flexible time and pace: Learners have the flexibility to progress at their own pace and to adjust time allocations based on their learning objectives.

I asked students for a quick response on the whiteboard as you can see below.

I then asked students to provide more detailed feedback on video for 2-3 strengths and 2-3 areas for change.  I compiled the areas for change in the video below.

I was so pleased by how open students are at providing open and honest feedback.  I intend to reward their candor by listening to them and addressing their issues.

It is my intention to focus on the feedback students have given in the next term to improve the instruction. My areas of focus will be:

  1. Making sense of goals and standards.
  2. Helping students see and navigate the progression of content difficulty.
  3. Giving more choice when it comes to required use of technology.
  4. Allowing students to have more ownership in the design of the learning activities.

I look forward to editing a video of the strengths of our course, but I wanted to make sure I got to the changes first.  

I am asking you to share any ideas or resources that might help me in the process of improving my instruction in these areas.  I thank you in advance. 

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