I am your host today, Lynn Burrows, and today I want to share a little bit about the importance and the power of student opinion.
Welcome to the PE Express podcast. Two to three times a week at PE expert will share a tip, activity idea, or teaching strategy to help you become a better PE professional. Today’s host is an Elementary PE teacher coming to us from the beautiful mountains of Colorado, Lynn Burrows.
I’m going to be sharing about the power of student opinion, why it matters and what we can do with it. Our students’ opinions matter. Not only do they matter, but they can often lead to novel, fun ideas, inspired periods of rejuvenation, and most importantly, greater student and teacher satisfaction and achievement. One way I have had success gathering student opinion is through simple polls. I’ve used both paper and pencil and Google forms. I typically take between 5 and 10 minutes for some sort of student survey each semester. Questions I often ask my students are, what is your favorite activity in PE? What are your top three favorite activities in PE? What was the most important thing you learned in PE this week or this month? What is something you want to learn more about? What do you wish we did less of and if you are the PE teacher starting tomorrow, you came into work and you are the PE teacher, what would you change?
I tell the students your opinion and your voice matters and I can make changes to do what we do and how we do it as long as everyone is emotionally and physically safe, there are lots of ways to learn. Once I get the feedback from the students, I examine it. I look for patterns. If all the students list an activity that they love, then I have to think, how can I incorporate a similar activity into a new learning? I ask myself, what do they think is important learning, like what did they put on that survey? What? What was the most important thing that they learned? If even a couple of my students have something similar that they wish that we did less of, I begin rethinking that practice. Is there a better way I could accomplish the same goal? One time when I gave students a survey, I had been using what I thought was an awesome warm-up instant activity fairly frequently.
I thought the students loved it as much as I did. I was shocked after reading through the survey I gathered there was a handful of students, maybe more than handful, who really disliked this particular way of getting started. We know there are multitude of instant activities to get kids moving. Easy peasy. I changed the warm up but still accomplish the goal of getting kids moving right away and according to the next survey, students like the change. I’m curious, have you tried student surveys? What are your students saying? I’d love to hear the questions that you ask your students. Please consider sharing them with everyone here on the podcast because just like my students, your voice is important.