Feedback from our learners is amongst the most powerful information we can collect as teachers. We also know that the time we take to gather it and the methodology we use has a significant impact on the quality of feedback we receive. Whether it is verbal or electronic, whole-group or individual, formal or informal, the messages we collect from our learners drive our understanding of their progress and personalities and the way they see the world, themselves and their course. This also informs our future planning and helps us ensure that all learners are getting the best possible experience during their time at college.
Ever taught a lesson and wondered what each learner’s responses to the content were? Rather than waiting until tutorials or end of unit questionnaires, here is a suggested tool for gathering information on a more regular basis:
Head, Heart, Bag, Bin
As you come to end of your session and move into a plenary, have your learners write down the following:
- Something that has made them THINK about the topic (head)
- How they have FELT about the topic (heart)
- Something they would bin from the session – the bit they did not find useful/interesting with the topic and explain why
- Finally they must bag something that they have remembered about the topic/found most interesting or useful.
This requires next to no preparation and, apart from introducing the concept, is completely student led.
This could be done on individual handouts, post-it notes to add to a poster on the wall or even posted in a box on the way out the door. The end result is an entirely student-driven reflection on the learning that has just taken place and can be used to enrichen future learner discussions and planning for the subsequent session.
Sandie Stratford (firstname.lastname@example.org) has enjoyed success using this method in her teacher training classes:
“Students appreciate the homeliness of it: metaphors often work better than abstract requests or descriptions, I find. It seems to unlock thinking. I first used it to get students to evaluate the success of a session taught by myself, contrasting it with standard reflective proformas such as provided by City & Guilds. This allowed it to become an evaluative task (higher level Bloom). Subsequently a number of people have said they used it in their own practice, particularly following a day training session“
If you have a go at this technique and have successes (or problems!) to report then please get in touch using this blog or Workplace.