Student to Teacher Feedback

Student to Teacher Feedback

I’m not sure how I omitted this conversation “relationship.”  It is just as important as all of the other conversations about learning..  My teaching improved when I explicitly asked for feedback, especially midway through a course.  It is a challenge to read about your weaknesses as a teacher, but it is the only way to improve. In my experience feedback is honest and helpful when students can give it anonymously, the teacher shares the results of the feedback, and plans for using it.

Here are some helpful ideas from a middle school teacher.

“By using student feedback to improve your teaching, you build a better classroom. Learn how you can start gathering student feedback on your teaching to modify … to giving the survey, how does Mr. Ronevich encourage student voice in his classroom.”

Measures of Effective Teaching: Student Feedback – Teaching Channel


Teacher to Teacher Dialogue

Jim Knight’s approach to coaching.  Well worth exploring.

“This collection of our free and most popular resources include teaching tools and forms. They are designed to assist in the development and understanding of coaches, teachers, and administrators.”

“A partnership approach to dramatically improving instruction.

  1. What complicates the task of helping adults? 2. What are the partnership principles and should I ground my coaching in them? 3. What is the instructional coaching improvement cycle? How do I do it? Should I do it?









Dialogue: Natural and/or learned!

A Framework for “Dialogue and Learning”

There are hundreds of blog posts, articles, and books that address “dialogue.” They range across age groups (infancy to adulthood), contexts (home, school, business, medicine, politics, public media), content (stories with particular themes or topics, science, history, art, math) and purposes. Some of these sources are simply noting the content of the dialogue, some the type of dialogue, some are critiquing the lack of or tenor of the dialogue, and some address how to teach/develop/learn to engage in meaningful dialogue for the purposes of learning, expanding ideas, and solving problems.
On this blog many of the posts have been related to school success and reading success, particularly as children grow from infancy through elementary school. In an effort to find patterns relevant to school and literacy success the following format will be used for future posts: Reasons, Roles, Rules, Routines and Rewards.

Reasons: What is/are the purposes for focusing on dialogue?

Roles: Who are the participants in the dialogue and how, in the particular context, are they related to each/one another?

Rules: Is there a set of “rules” that participants follow. Are the rules implicit or explicit. If implicit, are all of the participants aware of the rules? Do they all agree to the rules?

Routines: Dialogue entails multiple “turns” among participants. What kinds of “turns” are there? How do participants determine whose “turn” it is and what kind of contribution is appropriate? Meaningful? Helpful? How are the routines influenced by Reasons, Rules and Roles?

Rewards: Can dialogue really achieve the desired/specified “reasons” for all of the participants? How do we know?

Using Dialogue to Learn

When do children start to use “dialogue for learning” in a school context?

I’ve been cleaning out my collection of text books and was prompted to see how many of my books on language–language and development, language and learning, language and literacy, language and school success–were outdated.

With my interest in dialogue and its relationship to school success, I stopped to skim several old texts that still seem relevant to me. Here are some examples:

The Language of Learning: The Preschool Years by Marion Blank, Susan A. Rose and Laura J. Berlin, Grune and Stratton Publishers, 1978

“Regardless of differences in orientation (toward teaching thinking in the preschool), one factor that almost all programs share (with the notable exception of Montessori) is the importance placed on the verbal exchange that occurs between the teacher and the child.” (p.3)…

Talk for Teaching and Learning, Joan Tough, Ward Lock Educational (from Britain), 1979

“The project was first established under the title Schools Council Communication Skills in Early Childhood Project. During the development stage many teachers (of the 1000 who participated) felt that teachers who worked with older children should also be aware of the part that talk should play in children’s learning and in teaching.” (p. v)

Does talk, dialogue, language still play an important role in learning? Only for preschoolers?

Consider some contemporary sources:
Speaking and Listening for Preschool Through Third Grade, Lauren Resnick and Catherine Snow, International Reading Association, 2008

“Speaking and listening are the foundations of reading and writing. A child who does not have a large and fluent vocabulary will have difficulty with every aspect of reading, from recognizing or sounding out words to making sense of the story or set of directions. A child who can’t tell a story orally will have trouble writing one. Parents and educators know this instinctively,but they have had few resources to rely on in determining what speaking and listening abilities they should expect from children at different ages.”

Comprehension Through Conversation, Maria Nichols, Heinemann, 2006

“..Allington’s assertion that conversational talk was still under researched was the impetus I needed to begin broadening my own focus on talk.” (p. vii)

Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk That Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understanding, Jeff Zwiers and Maria Crawford

“I didn’t know what I knew until I talked about it.” Seventh-grade science student.

What do educators know about the speaking and listening abilities students need to succeed in school? How do we teach those speaking and listening skills? What role does teacher modeling play? Are there specific contexts, resources, approaches that will help children develop these communication/dialogue/language skills? When should we begin? When should we stop teaching/learning about language, communication, dialogue skills?