Q11e2 Essay Project on After-class App-feedback

Diese drei Schülerinnen Essays über das Thema Stundenfeedbacks erschienen als Teaser mit QR-Code im Jahresbericht 2017 und sind hier online in voller Länge zu lesen.


After-class feedback is a hassle, but can become a blessing -   
Impediments and barriers to students’ feedback and ways to eliminate them

Have you already dreamt of having an opportunity to evaluate your teacher? Since September 2016 Q11 students have been offered a possibility to give lesson feedbacks to their English teacher Mr. Schießl but most of them are missing out on this remarkable chance by not participating in our weekly feedback surveys. “Do not forget to do your survey!”. That is what our teacher tells us after every lesson while students are packing away their books and hurry to get out as fast as possible. “Who needs that feedback anyway?”, they think and immediately forget the reminder of the teacher. What compels them to act so?

Egoism. The fundament of human’s nature. Psychological egoism is part and parcel of our actions, as every human being was born with the principal aim: to avoid pain and to experience pleasure. Therefore, all people, including students always strive for satisfaction of their own desires and elimination of the barriers to fulfill the last. That means that according to our latest statistics 85% of students in our class (22 from 26) evade giving their after-class feedback because it presents a barrier to their own desires. But is it not controversial to the self-evident statement that students aspire to having an efficient and amusing in-class atmosphere? No, it is not, proceeding from the assumption that they apparently do not regard feedback as a tool for a better lesson. As a matter of fact, most of the students who do not do their feedback surveys assume that they would not to see expected improvements in the lesson at all. “Feedback would not help anyway”, they say coming from the assumption that the teacher is not going to modify our lessons by taking account of their reactions. Thus, a solution to the mentioned barrier could be teacher’s intimations to changes in today’s lesson referring to feedback results or student’s suggestions. Thereby, students would understand that they do benefit from their feedback participation by noticing some improvements in class.

Furthermore, many students simply forget to give feedback when at home as it is impossible to do their survey on their smartphone at school directly after class due to mobile phone ban. Obviously, it is also difficult to keep it in mind during several hours till the end of classes. That is why it is essential that students switch on notifications in the app FeedbackSchule, which is being used by our class to eliminate our teacher’s paperwork and to allow students to fill out surveys on their smartphones. Moreover, I recommend to send an automatic mail in the afternoon of the same day to remind pupils to give feedback. Students would get the mail when they come home after school and remember to participate in feedback survey. Thus, giving feedback becomes part of their homework assignment and can be easily done while recapping the lesson and preparing for the next. It becomes a routine and that is the key to its breakthrough and success.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that it is surely not possible to achieve a regular full participation of pupils in surveys as there is no way to eliminate numerous personal factors of all students in their after-school life over a long period of time. Nevertheless, I am firmly convinced that the solutions mentioned above would help to evidently increase feedback participation and consequently achieve a better learning atmosphere and symbiotic student-teacher relationship in order to achieve a better classroom environment, which in turn contributes to students´ academic and social development.  

Polina Gordienko, Q11 e2


Fear, Frustration, Insecurity - all wiped away if students can voice their opinion  
The benefit of feedback in classrooms

In our modern society education is one of the most important factors in getting a
 well-paid job and in establishing a good livelihood for oneself. This is why students must be given the opportunity to study under the best conditions. In order to create these conditions and improve the learning atmosphere in class, more and more teachers are trying to be responsive to the students’ estimations, by giving them the chance to give feedback. But does feedback really affect lessons in a positive way? Hereinafter will be presented that feedback, concerning different aspects of a lesson, promotes the general learning atmosphere in class thus helping to develop a successful lesson for both students and teachers.

One reason for integrating feedback into the lesson is that it can help reduce the students’ fear in the academic environment. Students are often insecure because they do not know what the teacher expects from them. Most students are not able to openly voice their opinion because they are afraid of turning the teacher against them by criticizing them, especially when they want to tell their teacher that the way the teacher explains things to the students is not comprehensible to them. This insecurity can lead to a tense atmosphere between teacher and student which in turn causes the fear and stress to increase. By giving feedback the students can express their worries anonymously, thus eliminating their fear of openly voicing their opinion but also enabling the teacher to make the changes the teacher sees fit in order to help their students. Therefore, the atmosphere in class is made less tense which benefits the students and the teacher, since it plays a prominent role in a successful lesson.

Another advantage of feedback from which both, students and teachers, can benefit is the fact that it helps the students to have a say in the process of creating the lesson. It is often the case that students feel frustrated because they cannot influence the procedure of creating the lesson in any way. If the teacher gives them the option to give customized feedback to him or her for example through a comment section and a lot of the students address the same issue, the teacher can talk about this problem in class for a few minutes. Together, they can then find a compromise which benefits both sides and therefore improves their learning environment. The students can mentally prepare for the lesson and know what they will achieve during that time. That way, they can contribute more to the lesson. In our English lesson for example some pupils encouraged our teacher through feedback to give us a short summary at the beginning of class of what to expect during each lesson. Our teacher immediately brought up the subject during class and realized it in the next lesson. That way, we got the feeling that our opinions were appreciated and made reality, if possible.

Feedback is also responsible for helping the teachers get an idea of the students´ opinion towards their way of teaching and can therefore help improve the learning atmosphere in class. This is accomplished since the teacher is now able to customize the lesson according to the individual needs of the students, which are communicated to them via the feedback. The learning atmosphere in class is also improved this way, because the students´ contentment is a very important factor in creating a good and healthy learning atmosphere. My personal experience with feedback, which I regularly give for my English lessons, enables me to confirm this theory. Being able to speak my mind about the lesson should I feel any discontent about it and actually seeing the teacher make changes according to my feedback has highly improved my personal learning experience, the learning atmosphere in class and contributed to my confidence in the entire concept of giving feedback.  

Today ́s experiences in classrooms often suffer from three main issues: fear, frustration and insecurity. Fear, because students do not know what to expect and what is expected from them. Frustration, because students cannot influence what they are going to hear and lastly insecurity, mostly by teachers, because they do not know what their students want to learn. As illustrated above, feedback reduces or eliminates all of these aspects by promoting and creating a new way of communication between the student body and the teachers and therefore benefits the learning atmosphere in class just as much as it helps to create a successful lesson for everyone involved. This is why one should consider giving feedback a try because as Albert Einstein once said: “All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.” Only by voicing one ́s opinion problems can be discovered and then change can be made. 

A.Repper, L.C. Dang, A.L.Cruz Saco Lesevic, S.Morwarid, J.Follmer, Q11 e2


You are not giving feedback after class? - Don't let this chance pass you by!
Feedback - working together for a better learning environment

Technology evolves and so does school, but why not combine both of them? Most teachers do not know their students‘ opinion regarding their lessons, as well as how effectively they manage to transfer their subject matter. The other way round students may feel like they have no impact concerning the change of the lessons so they can reach a good level of studying and improving their knowledge.Finding a balance which is promising for both sides could enormously improve the learning process, but at this moment it is just another optimistic idea. The reality looks different: teachers may not want to let students structure their own lessons. And on the other hand, students do not feel the need to give their teachers a feedback on their lesson or their way of teaching. And even if the teacher offers them to give an after class feedback, there are certain obstacles. Students are mostly not willing to spend extra time on „school stuff“ and if they are, they may not take it seriously enough. The lack of time, interest and willingness to make a change they yet do not see, destructs this idea of improving the lesson together for a better learning process.So if you now think a teacher has no impact in improving the students' motivation towards visible feedback, think again.

First of all, an important step to increase the use of feedback is to make it more accessable. Many students are just too busy or lazy to give feedback just because it is very circumstantial. Besides all the everyday stress pupils and students already have, they just don't find the time to properly give feedback, maybe because they think that it is too effortful. In order to change the mindset of exactly these people, making it simple to enter would be a great way to show them that giving feedback is really not that time consuming. If feedback was easier to enter, for example, with an app for the phone this would be a step in the right direction.The app "feedbackschule", which we are using in class, does the trick for us. It's a very handy and time saving way to give and collect feedback. So both students and teachers benefit. 

To make feedback more attractive for students, there has to be a certain structure and election of the question to get feedback more successful. The questions should be based on what the last lesson has dealt with and how it was structured. The advantage is that there are no questions that are exactly bound to the features of a teacher, like his appearance. But instead they are dealing with really relevant aspects, like the expedient content of the lesson, that can improve the lesson’s quality. The question about the achieved learning success for example, is in the lesson more profitable than asking for the competence of a teacher, because it counts what the pupils could learn during the lesson and not how the teacher acted. Consequently the pupils can answer the question easier without having any doubts to insult the teacher, who, on the other hand, gets feedback results with which he can really improve the lesson’s quality. This way, students are less hesitant to give feedback and feel like the teacher is really asking questions they will benefit from.

Lastly, in order to make feedback more attractive to students, change has to become visible. Making a link between giving a short feedback and a profound improvement or change in class gives the students a certain feeling of empowerment and validates their opinion. By really trying to integrate the students' ideas into the development of teaching and learning, feedback loses its sense of abstraction and becomes tangible. Consequently, the motivation will increase, more students will take time to give feedback to their teachers and a better atmosphere while studying will be achieved. As well as the personal learning progress and motivation that rises due to more participation in the evolvement of classes. New ways of teaching or changes inspired by the students' feedback need to be incorporated directly into the following lessons, linked to an overview of the given feedback with the class in order to make the students feel like they are part of the process and part of a unity that works together towards a better education as well as improved communication and fair learning environments.  

In consideration of these arguments, it is no longer disputable that making feedback accessible, well-structured and visible is necessary to avoid the primal issue of students being rather unwilling to give feedback. So if a teacher wants to improve his lessons, he has to keep these aspects in mind. That way he will achieve valuable evaluation from the students’ point of view and will be able to optimize their learning progress. Since the latter should, of course, always be a teacher’s motivation and aim, hopefully many teachers will execute this advantageous way of feedback. In this manner both sides, the students and the teachers, benefit from this quick and easy method. 

K.Betz, J.Fuch, I.von Creytz, L.Zeilhofer, L.Azari, Q11 e2

First of all, an important step to increase the use of feedback is to make it more accessable. Many students are just too busy or lazy to give feedback just because it is very circumstantial. Besides all the everyday stress pupils and students already have, they just don't find the time to properly give feedback, maybe because they think that it is too effortful. In order to change the mindset of exactly these people, making it simple to enter would be a great way to show them that giving feedback is really not that time consuming. If feedback was easier to enter, for example, with an app for the phone this would be a step in the right direction.

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