I asked my 9th grade students for narrative feedback on their first semester experiences in my classroom through a survey about our standards based learning environment. We always have room to improve and grow, but we also have so much to be proud of. My kids create the learning environment with me, and the responsibility for maintaining it is shared as well.
Several major themes seemed to develop from their responses – they enjoy the freedom to work at their own pace and choose their work, they do not feel stressed out regarding learning in my classroom, they feel safe to try new things and revisit their learning when proficiency levels are below the learning target, and they preferred a standards based grading system to emphasize learning over points, scores, and grades. Here are a few examples of their responses:
“I have the freedom to learn how I choose.”
“I like being able to have the freedom to do the things you need during class, without scripted backwork.”
On Stress Levels:
“I enjoy how unstressful the learning environment is.”
“I do not feel pressured to know everything right away – there is time to become proficient.”
On Safety of Learning:
“The learning environment is welcoming and makes you feel safe.”
“We can redo our assessments, so we can get better and better at it.”
On Standards Based Grading:
“I enjoy the learning atmosphere because of the grading system.”
“I like that we don’t have traditional grades, because it makes more sense.”
There is one more comment that I would like to highlight. It humbled me as it also reminded me what a huge impact we as educators have on kids.
“What I enjoy most about Spanish class is how I learn not only the language, but how to be something in the world.”