Every other year, I like to provide my students with a final survey to see where they are at and to gain some insight on my teaching from the students POV. If you don’t already do this, I highly recommend it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the data you receive. (Also, it’s nice to hear that our students love us every now and then. 😉 )
I created several google forms, breaking them up by class. I think there are different things to know from the different students. The insights of a student that has had you for 3 or 4 years is way different than that of a first year student or a student that was only there for the fine arts credit. Also, if you have a single media class, you can form the questions to reflect that.
“What I liked most about how you ran our art class was how you had a great relationship with your students and your class was the class everyone looked forward to everyday.”
” you’ve taught me not to judge people for who they are”
“I learned that you have to trust yourself and learn to take risks.”
“I think when you pushed us we got better”
I asked a variety of questions, ranging from the students telling me their strengths and weaknesses to how they felt about my teaching methods. I asked what they liked and what they didn’t like. I asked what they had learned and what they wished they had learned. I also asked what I could change. Kids are pretty honest.
“the artworks we did were fun because we could do what ever media we wanted to do as long as we could fit the needs of the project”
“I liked how we had the prompt or whatever and then you allowed each individual person to take their time to make their art and you helped each person with their specific questions.”
(Favorite part of class) “being able to use a lot of the equipment freely” & “being able to talk to you about anything”
One thing that I think is important when creating the forms is to make almost all questions as required. It makes the student think and add to previous answers. The only ones that are optional are “Name” and “Anything else you would like to add”. If a student thinks he can be more honest by remaining anonymous, then that is a good thing.
(I’ve grown as an artist…) “because when I run into a problem I can figure out a way around it instead of getting frustrated and starting over again”
“You ran [class] like were weren’t just kids and you trusted us to use the tools effectively and whenever we wanted.”
“I loved that you would give us a broad topic to help get an idea of what we want to make our art of, but what we actually made was up to us. So we had freedom in our art.”
“I loved that you gave us a topic that we had to base our artwork on, but that you didn’t push us into doing anything. You let us create the artwork that we wanted and let us use whatever media we wanted”
As I sat this morning finally reading their responses, about a month after they filled them out, I made some notes. I jotted down some of the things they liked. I jotted down what they wished they had learned. I made notes on things they felt would have helped them grow more. I even wrote down some quotes that I didn’t put in this post. And, I have to admit, reading their words about how much they enjoy the TAB studio/pedagogy really helps to solidify that I made the right decision when I made the switch. I’ve been TAB for several years, and I rarely doubt the decision to go ther, but it is still nice to hear from those that it truly affects that it was a good thing.
I am glad that I waited a month to read the responses. Enough time has passed that my mind is fresh, but it hasn’t been so long that I can no longer hear the voices of my students in their responses. This list will help me when I go in about a month to work out things for next year’s classes. I can know what is missing, and what not to change. Now, I don’t agree with everything they said. I know some kids didn’t like writing about the artists we learned about and some didn’t like the computer stuff; that I won’t change because I do think it is important for their artistic growth…they just don’t see it at the moment. But, I was surprised by how many liked learning about current artists and how many actually liked the drawing tests.
I have been doing surveys for as long as I have been teaching, but I think this year’s surveys were the most informative. I think I finally asked the right questions and got responses that will be able to help me create a better studio and learning experience for my students.
“Most people just take art because they need a year of fine art and honestly that’s why I took art, but as the year went on I started to really love this class and making artworks. I can’t wait to have art again next year!!”