What is the real purpose of student surveys?
Have you ever given thought to this? Well, it depends on the point of view. For students, surveys are important because they are a great means to communicate what they want or need, or if they feel changes have to be made. They are a great way to express what adjustments students feel should take place in order for their language objectives to be met. Always keep in mind that students feel that if they put in the time and effort to respond, changes that suit their needs will be made. They often respond with the hope that the survey represents a greater commitment to change. For teachers, on the other hand, surveys are amazing tools to ensure students feel comfortable and to show them, that you as their teacher, care about them and their needs. Surveys are essential to ensure their motivation. So, what exactly should we ask our students on these surveys? Take a look at 10 great questions.
Use This Survey for a Real Positive Change
Do You Feel You Were Placed at the Right Level?
An important question to start with since many students feel they have been placed in a level where they don't belong. If they respond no here, it is essential you explain what was taken into account during placement and why they need to be in that level. Try to provide information about the objectives in that level.
Did Your Lessons Begin and End on Time?
For many, punctuality is not an important issue. Starting a lesson 5 minutes later is not a big deal to many, but what you need to understand is that it should be. Arriving a few minutes earlier to set everything up is recommendable. Then you can use the first couple of minutes for brief small talk and warm up, then start the lesson.
Is the Program and Material Adequate for You?
Students want their material to be age appropriate. Using books for teenagers with adults, is not advisable. If you have a group of students in different age groups, choose material that is adequate for both. Not a business book nor one targeted for kids, but rather something in the middle.
Did Your Instructor Follow the Program?
Many teachers tend to forget about the program and get a bit chatty. Watch out for this. Though there is nothing wrong with having a spontaneous conversations with our students during our lessons, these chats should be kept to a minimum. Never lose sight of your objectives for each lesson, don't forget you are following a program. Now, if your students want to have more conversation practice, make sure you talk to the authorities of the establishment where you work. Make sure to check if it's OK because it could affect your finishing the program on time. If they are private students, try to work it into the program by extending it. Make sure to explain this to them.
Do You Feel Time Was Used Productively?
This is usually an issue in many courses. Often what students feel is not productive is in fact very necessary. Teachers pay close attention to mistakes and what students generally disregard. Though this should not change, meaning you as the teacher should continue to focus on what is needed, it is important to also listen to your students regarding their views on productivity. You could be ignoring other areas they need to develop. Let's face it, teachers sometimes spend a little too much time on some things and not enough on others. Listen to their needs and then try to compromise.
Do You Feel Your Instructor Adequately Caters to Your Needs and Expectations?
If your students feel you are not meeting their expectations, there could be many reasons. First, make sure you know exactly what they expect from the course before they begin. If you work in an institute of some sort, you can ask the sales team to tell you exactly what was promised or offered to that student. Often what happens here is simply a problem in communication.
Do You Have Special Needs Concerning the Program?
Just because you are undoubtedly doing what you should be doing, sometimes our students have specific needs or even interests that require attention in other areas. Once again, I suggest you listen to what they have to say and try to compromise.
Are You Studying outside Class Time, through Homework or Any Other Means?
The trick to learning any language is exposure. Nothing beats practice. It is important that students understand that their progress is very much linked to the amount of work and dedication they put into their learning.
Do You Feel You Are Progressing in General?
This question is meant to get a feel for how students see their progress and is closely tied to what they expected.
What Changes Would You Make?
In this part of the survey students can make a list of changes the would make. What they would add, replace or take away.
Surveys are easy to organize.
Just keep in mind that you have to be prepared to make changes, or at least be ready to compromise. By conducting surveys, student expectations are heightened. It's important to remember that if there is no response to their petitions, it creates disappointment and even resentment. The lack of actions has an impact on the relationship you have with your students After all, if nothing changes after a survey, it would be a confirmation of your lack of commitment to your students. If you have no real intention to listen to your students, you would be better off not conducting any surveys rather than conducting surveys but failing to follow through. Surveys and dialog, when conducted correctly, strengthen relationships. I recommend you use surveys but first, get ready to hear the truth.
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