When we decide to ask students how they really feel we run the risk of being told that we suck, to use a favorite 5th grade word. We run the risk of being told we are boring, that the project was uninspired, and that they would never do it to another student. (You know a project is bad when it is “done” to you). But we also run the risk of getting better ideas, constructive criticism, and valid points that propel our projects further into student-directed learning, further into deeper knowledge acquisition. My students took ownership of the project as well as their criticism. They didn’t feel the need to apologize for what they were about to say but phrased it specifically and unemotionally. They knew that I knew it wasn’t an attack on me.
So do we dare to ask the students for feedback on all their learning? Do we dare take 10 minutes of our day to ask for suggestions, even if just one in a while? Do we dare to actually do something with those suggestions because any fool can listen but it takes courage and dedication to do. My students showed me yesterday that they trust me enough to share their opinions, they know I will take their words to heart and I will actually change what I did. They know this because I have proved to them what my intentions are. What a huge success in a 5th grade classroom. So ask yourself; have I involved my students? Have I asked for their feedback and opinion? Those that the learning affect the most? Or am I too scared to do it?