As we near the final stretch of the 2020-2021 school year, I have begun to look back at the notes from my 1-1 sessions with students. I try to write down the questions they pose about education, because oftentimes this anecdotal evidence turns into great data or lends itself well to professional development. I spent some time thinking about the best way to present this information, and I came to the conclusion that a student Wishlist would work perfectly for our institution.
I Wish (for 2020-2021)
”I wish that my teacher knew how hard my other class was”
No matter the size of your student class load, it is important for us to realize that some classes still present more challenging work (content, # of assignments, tough late policies). Before we feel that a student didn’t do anything because they didn’t do our assignment, check in to see what work they may have had for their other course/s.
Potential Discussions: Late policies, extensions without scaffolding, shifts in necessary structure from 9th-12th
”I wish that my teacher would explain concepts further in class”
Flipping the classroom to support both independent discovery and virtual learning is a solid idea. There are also some students who do benefit from an auxiliary teacher explanation, as a video can’t answer their questions completely as they come up. This can lead to extra frustration and confusion in the classroom. If we are presenting a challenging concept with a flipped classroom approach, we should think about also having a small in-class lesson to support those learners who need a little more than the video, while still allowing for students who understand the concept to shine as well.
Potential Discussion: Scaffolding independent learning opportunities
”I wish that my teacher was available when I was doing my homework”
I am just putting this one here because I think it is important to think about. I personally feel that it is unreasonable to ask a teacher to be on from 8:00a-11p. That being said, some of us have students learning virtually in different time zones. If late night is not an option for us, we need to set extra time slots during the day for students to ask questions...Remember: Some students need to set concrete appointments with us instead of just having an open block of time available.
Potential Discussion: Use of time
”I wish my teacher would be clear with what they want”
We have many students who are developing their abstract thinking abilities in order to fully engage with the amazing material we are presenting to them. Many of our students, in particular younger students, often benefit from concrete expectations. If we want students to produce a specific number of items/problems/facts for full credit, we should ask for exactly what we want.
Potential Discussions: Scaffolding shifts from 9th-12th
”I wish my teacher would give us examples of assignments”
At MHS, we made a very clear decision to push our students from the Spring (connection over content) last year to our current school year where content has increased. I imagine that this year has brought so many new and innovative assignments for students. When we provide examples, solid student work should always be our go-to. Is the assignment we are delivering brand new? Excellent! High-five for innovation! This also means that we now need to complete the assignment to provide an example (or find a colleague to help).
With the significantly reduced amount of time students have to get adjusted, providing sample work can be an easy way to counteract that reduced time.
Potential Discussions: Supports in the classroom
Thanks for listening to the wishes of some of our students. What have your students been wishing for this year? Check out the NEALS Discussion Board to give your input!
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