Ideally, the primary goal of a teacher is to provide their students with the best possible education. However, diversity in learning styles of individual students, among various other challenges, causes difficulty in maintaining steady classroom engagement. There is a simple solution to this challenge that many teachers ignore: asking for and listening to student feedback. Unfortunately, research conducted by Oregon Student Voice reveals that too many students have found their teachers unwilling to listen to feedback and/or not asking for it.
Personally, teachers have asked me for feedback on specific lessons or in general at the end of the school year. When this occurs, I am always excited and hopeful that they will listen and I will receive better instruction. Furthermore, it communicates to my fellow students and me that our teachers respect and value our opinions, which would create a more trusting and better classroom atmosphere. However, I have yet to see any of my teachers incorporate my feedback or that of my peers. From my perspective, it appears that my teachers do not actually care about my opinions, rather they are trying to placate us. Alternatively, it is frustrating when they ask for it at the end of the year, as the feedback will not impact my learning. I know I can offer a different perspective to my teachers on their lessons, but they have continuously failed to listen and to provide channels for us to effectively communicate.
Oregon Student Voice works to improve the classroom experience for all Oregon students, like myself, and, therefore, proposes the implementation of a feedback system in all classes. We conducted a review of effective practices for student-teacher feedback systems and met with teachers and students to gain there insights into what they prefer. We analyzed our findings and identified several recommendations for the design of a feedback system, which are included in our recently published report. The report also includes a discussion of the positives and negatives of a facilitated feedback link between students and teachers.
To read our recommendations for a student-teacher feedback system, check out our report here.
Victoria Siegel is a senior at Lincoln High School and a Student Voice Blogger at Oregon Student Voice, a student-led organization that empowers all students to be authentic partners in making decisions that affect their K-12 education.