Jaime Groeller & Ivy Waite~ Grade 8 Humanities
As discussed in a previous post, on April 30 we conducted a formal survey of our students regarding the team teaching approach we have taken up over the last 9 months. We had conducted informal surveys twice before, and tried to take into account the concerns and suggestions provided to make the experience more positive for the majority of the students. Here is part 2 of an anecdotal analysis of the formal survey. (Part 1 can be found here.)
Overwhelmingly, the positive responses outweighed the negative. Many students clearly understand and appreciate the learning experience we as teachers are trying to provide. They identified and commented on many of the specific items we outlined as goals of our team teaching:
Students speak to one another, and as such it is very important that we are providing equitable instruction to all 100 students. Team teaching has enabled us to ensure that all of our students receive the same information and expectations. Gone are the days of “but their class is doing X”, and “why are they allowed to do Y but we are not?” The survey results showed that our students noticed and appreciated this consistency.
Another positive is that students have realized that having two teachers allows them to access alternative sources when looking for formative assessment. This ability to access different perspectives is seen by many students as an asset as it allows for clarification when confused, or just a second “opinion” when required. Our students also commented that they have appreciated being able to go to the other teacher when one is not available for whatever reason.
The ability for students to collaborate with more than just those in their homeroom was frequently identified by the students as a positive of joining classes. The option to work with someone new, or just someone different, allows for students access different opinions and strengths amongst their colleagues, and for them to make appropriate choices when forming collaborative learning teams.
While we started the year with many students expressing concern about sharing ideas or participating in front of such a large group, that number has decreased. We were pleasantly surprised to many express that their confidence has increased when speaking in larger groups. While some are still struggling with this, it is important for our students to realize that as they continue in their academic career, many of them will be faced with class sizes much larger than 25, and soon 50 will seem small! The personal growth demonstrated by these students is very encouraging, as teachers are always looking for opportunities to work on the “hidden curriculum.”
The many positive, or even the indifferent comments, encourages us to keep this experiment going, with some modifications as outlined in the previous post. As always, we encourage your feedback as well!