Friday, June 15, 2012

Processing student feedback

For a class evaluation, I gave my students a form based on the NBPTS World Language standards.  For a variety of reasons, mostly accidental, I only ended up giving it to my Spanish II and my Spanish I classes.  By nature, these students are the ones most inclined to like class; they signed up for it, after all.  For that same reason, though, they're the ones most likely to call BS if there's a problem, I think.  I've just finished going over them, and here are some of the highlights:

On a scale of 1-5, in both classes, I averaged better than 3 in every category.  My median and mode scores in every category were also 3 or better. 

The 2 categories I did worst in were "forming constructive relationships with students and families" and "knowledgable about how students learn language."  As far as forming constructive relationships, the dissaatisfaction can come from a lot of different angles.  I wish I'd asked a more specific question.  Is it the "family" part I don't do so well on, or is it the "students" part, or is it the "forming relationships" part?  I know I don't call home as much as I should to say nice things about students.  I'm working on it, but it takes a while.  The "students learn language" one was surprising to me.  I thought I did pretty well.

My consistently lowest scores were from my Spanish II class, who mostly came away with the impression that I don't value diversity and I don't understand the different ways students learn.  In short, I think, they don't think I valued them as individuals.  That's too bad, because I loved them as individuals. 
One of the classes thought things went better in the first semester, when I spoke more Spanish, than the second semester.  They seemed to think we had more fun.  The other class thought it was fun most of the time.

I got pretty high marks for knowledge of language, culture, and assessment.  The last one sort of surprised me; I keep trying to re-vamp my tests to they test what I want the students to know, but I don't think I'm there yet.  One student wasn't fooled.  S/he gave me generally high marks, except when it came to assessment. 

The students all think I know Spanish really well, which is good, because I do.  I feel like I'm sort of cheating putting that question on there in order to make myself feel better.  (Not that I feel bad, but I knew I was going to score 4 or better in that question.)  But if I don't ask it, how will I know if my students don't believe I can speak Spanish? 

Here's the takeaway: I know my stuff, but I'm not connecting with the students in a way they understand.  Some of that may just be the nature of trying to connect with them in a language they don't speak, but connecting with students is a good goal to work towards.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

iPad Apps to investigate further

Not a lot of processing in this post, just a place to put some links where I can find them later. It looks like our school will have a small number of iPads for students to use or for teachers to use in class, so big chunks of this summer will be spent trying to use the resources that will provide for us.  (What an awful sentence that was.)

Ed Tech Teacher compiled a list of iPad apps, organized by learning tasks, called "iPad as...".

Richard Byrne directs his readers to an app called GoClass, which might have some interesting useability.