Sometimes, I feel I gotta get away
Bells chime, I know I gotta get away
And I know if I don’t, I’ll go out of my mind
–The Kids Are Alright, The Who
I love the Who and I love this song although I hope that the lyrics quoted above are not a fair representation of the inner dialogue of my students at the end of a lesson! Yeah, I appreciate that the connection is a foggy one at best but the point of this post is to reflect a bit on the notion of having faith in our students and their ability to know what they need.
I try to get into the classroom to teach on a regular basis. As a principal, I feel that it is imperative that I keep my pedagogy skills honed. I come into a classroom with a bit of a disadvantage in that my connection with the kids is not as deep rooted as their regular classroom teacher. With this in mind, I believe in the power of the exit slip. After a lesson or activity, I give each student 2 or 3 minutes to answer the following 3 questions:
1) How interesting was the lesson? On a scale of 1 to 3, how engaging was the lesson?
2) What was the point of that? On a scale of 1 to 3, how clear was the point of that lesson?
3) How can I make the lesson better for you?
The exit slip generates next steps for my follow up lesson by giving me feedback on both the art and the science of learning. I know if I have engaged the students and I know if they feel like there was a point to the lesson. I also provide the students with an opportunity to make the next lesson better. The feedback loop is compact and the kids see that they have a voice. The exit slip also forces me to be flexible. There was a time when I would plan a lesson almost to the minute…why would I do that now when I know that taking a quick left or a quick right could lead to a far more engaging lesson?
I have never been disappointed by the feedback that the kids have provided me…I believe it is imperative that we seek this feedback…as I was putting this blog together, Alfie Kohn tweeted the following:
I couldn’t agree more…gotta listen to those kids…