Do teachers or teacher leaders, ask students about their experience of learning, or do we go about our business blissfully believing that we are doing a great job? Is there anything that can be improved?
Don’t get me wrong, the teachers at the school of which I am principal have worked tirelessly for quite a few years now, trying to grapple with the disruption that comes with a technologically enabled learning environment. They have regularly engaged in conversation and professionally learning which attempts to address the balance between content, pedagogy and technology. Whilst this challenge sometimes turns into a struggle, there are increasing instances where the learning experience of students has improved, changed, even transformed. However, feedback from the students about their learning experience has been limited. Besides anecdotal, “We love it here” from students, data from the occasional action research project and/or the willingness of a minority of teachers to be pro-active and seek feedback, I am not sure if it is not regular for teachers to identify with the learning experience of students. In talking with colleagues from other schools, this situation appears to be the norm.
It is said that if one is to truly empathise with someone else, you need to spend a day in their shoes. Well, why can’t we trial this in education? Why can’t we ask our teachers to be “student for a day”? Would it, or would it not, encourage our teachers to develop creative new ideas to complement the already good learning experience?
21 October 2012