Monday, 6 March 2017

Thoughts on feedback for teachers and the ownership of the learning process.

Skype chat Sunday 05 March 2017 (morning)

Still trying to figure out what feedback I want to receive from my students, I noticed that, when reading through articles and blogs, feedback interlinks with so many different things: feedback and critical thinking of students, feedback and your relationship with students, feedback and your objectives or expectations, feedback and the process of understanding, feedback and assessment of progress… Adesola writes on her blog that for her “feedback is about giving someone more ideas to think about or another way to look at the same thing”, it is “two-way” and about “walking together through an idea”. This would mean that feedback encourages dialogue. When I think about the exchange I wish to have with my students during my class, I think about my relationship with them. This is why, during the morning Skype chat yesterday, I wanted to hear from others what kinds of relationships they have with their students and what impact different teacher-student relationships can have on teaching. Parimala explained that she has one personality or one way of interacting with her students ‘during’ class and a different one ‘after’ class (be quite strict or formal during the class and allow time after the class to share experiences - be like one big family). Imogen mentioned that she too tries to incorporate time for reflection. Those two reactions made me realise something important: ‘When’ do I want to receive feedback and what age group are we talking about?
First of all, I am talking about students aged 16 and over. This is important to note because we are talking about students who are (or should be) attentive and disciplined. Second, I believe that thinking about ‘when’ is very strongly related to ‘why’. During the discussion on Skype, it sounded like people are separating the time where feedback is encouraged, from the time where the students are learning. However, the feedback I want should happen during the class, for one reason mainly: I feel like people are expecting from a dance teacher an authoritarian teaching style, they are expecting to quietly do their exercises and receiving clear instructions (mostly through demonstration) and corrections from the teacher. The teacher talks, the students dance. When young adults are familiar with this teaching style, they don’t really know how to react if a new teacher approaches dance in a different way and I am not sure if they truly want that change. This is frustrating because I have felt on my own body how important verbal exchange in dance can be, how it can help you progress. So, what is it that I am looking for? I wasn’t able to name it until Imogen talk about what she is trying to do in her teaching. (So thank you Imogen!) In fact, what I want is to give my students ownership of their learning. That’s what I am trying to create in my class. I want my students to own their learning process, to be in charge of it. Feedback would then be the framework. Consequently, I want the feedback to be reactions, responses to what they experience.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I have always learnt in a tradtional way where a teacher instructs and demonstartaes and students absorbs her teachings and of course assimilate as per their individual cognitive skills. Only a highly motivated learner trusts teacher's capacity and learn things considering their prior experience and responds to the present learnings with the belief that the new teaching methods will allow the student to improve the way they would operate in future. As a teacher I beleive in imparting knowledge through creating small performances in my class once they learn a fixed routine, and each student is given the freedom to add their ideas and imrpovise on that thus I make sure both tradtional and progressive methods are implemented which incorporates knowledge of curriculam requirements and new learning as related to their ideas which reflects the students understanding of a given task. I agree with you that verbal exchange is the vital aspect of teaching as it creates the clarity of expression both ways. Usually I receive feedback from parents as my students are between the age group of 7-15. I am sure you will achieve what you desire.