How to Evaluate Your Teaching in the Classroom
The perfect teacher is a myth. There is always room for improvement for every teacher. When teachers are willing to evaluate themselves critically, it indicates firstly, they take their profession seriously, and secondly, they are willing to improve themselves. A self-evaluation exercise will help the teacher identify her strengths and weaknesses. She can then take steps to overcome her weaknesses or capitalize on her strengths. Self-evaluation is essential in every profession. To produce effective learners, teachers have to be effective in the classroom. Hence, the teacher’s self-evaluation exercise is an integral part of the teaching profession.
The following are some vital principles of self-evaluation:
- Personal Observation: The teacher can evaluate the effectiveness of her lesson by observing her students’ behavior or facial expressions during her lesson. Do they look confused, bored or sleepy? Alternatively, are they participating enthusiastically in the class discussion? From her observation, the teacher can modify the method and style of her teaching to suit her students’ learning styles. Such observations, therefore, give valuable and immediate feedback to the teacher to improve her teaching style.
- Session Recording: Audio and video recordings of the classroom provide vital feedback for the teacher to evaluate herself. The information retrieved from video recordings will be a revelation, revealing her actual teaching style in the classroom. It also shows her facial expressions and the way she interacts with her students. After watching the video recordings, the teacher will surely find some interesting revelations about herself. From this feedback, she can take the necessary steps towards transforming herself to be a better teacher.
- Learners’ Feedback: Learners provide the best feedback regarding the effectiveness of a teacher. They know whether the teaching style of the teacher matches theirs. The teacher can obtain learners’ feedback by distributing simple questionnaires about their ability to understand her instruction and her teaching methods in the class. Another important source of information is to interview students individually or/and in groups. Their feedback is an invaluable source of information to help the teacher restructure her methods of teaching to suit the learners so that real learning can take place.
- Learners’ Grades: Students’ performance in the term examinations or monthly test is a good reflection of their performance. Sometimes learners are shy to discuss their performance in the class. As such, their ability will only be known through their test or examination scores. Based on this information, the teacher will have a better picture of her students’ academic progress. She should then take steps to improve her techniques of teaching if her students are unable to achieve the goals intended.
5. Own observation: Another helpful source of information is to personally observe the class behavior. The teacher observes the learners’ facial expressions and their overall body language. Such observations will indicate whether her learners are interested, happy, confused, bored, etc. The teacher should try to find out the causes if her learners seem uninterested or bored.
Is it because the instruction is too difficult or not meaningful to them? Perhaps they are tired, or they might have personal problems on their minds. Besides observing the class behavior, herself, she could also invite an experienced teacher to come to her class and observe the students’ mood or responses to her teaching. The teacher could also invite a senior student to participate in the class sessions to see how he/she feels about the way the lesson is conducted and its impact on the students.
How to Evaluate Your Learners in the Classroom
Educators are always eager to know the answers to the following fundamental questions: Are our students learning well? Do they understand what they are studying? Are we teaching effectively? What methodologies should we be using? Teachers must monitor their students’ progress and continue to evaluate them in order to give constructive feedback to their students.
As learners, they need to know how well or how badly they are doing. Classroom evaluation gives teachers a chance to prepare better lessons. It gives students a sense of accomplishment if they have done well; on the other hand, if they score poor grades, perhaps they should re-examine their study skills or simply just work harder.
Hence, it is of utmost importance that evaluation of learners is carried out on a regular basis and remedial measures be taken if necessary. Never assume that your students are learning successfully. To assess your students professionally, you need to consider the following approaches:
- Learner-Centric Approach: Some students learn effectively if they are encouraged to speak up in the classroom, especially during class activities. When students are given autonomy in class activities, they feel free to talk. The teacher can evaluate them by observing them when they discuss or give their ideas and opinions. Such evaluations based on observations give the teacher an indication of the extent her students have achieved the objectives and goals of the course.
- Teacher-Centric Approach: Teachers must be given full autonomy to make professional judgments about their students. Teachers know their learners better than an external examiner. It is important to test what the learners know, not what they do not know. And the best person to decide what to assess and how to assess is the class teacher.
- Cooperative-Centric Approach: Students learn better if they are given the chance to learn together. Similarly, when evaluating students, the teacher should also observe them when they are interacting in a group.
- Formative Approach: Instructors assess their class at each stage of the course, so that they can help their students master certain skills before they proceed to learn new ones. The results of the assessment will give invaluable feedback to instructors to make decisions about the next stage of their instruction.
- Specific Approach: Students learn differently, so one size does not fit all in the class. Just as the teacher has to use a different approach to teach a different class, she has to do likewise when evaluating her students. How or what the teacher teaches in one class may not apply to another class due to the differences in environment and styles of learning. So, a specific approach to evaluation is needed for each class.
- Constant Approach: If you want to evaluate your class, do it on a regular basis. Regular monitoring of the class progress will give you useful feedback so that you can redesign your lessons, if necessary, for better learning outcomes. Look for your students’ body language and facial expressions in the classroom. These expressions act as signals, indicating whether she needs to modify her teaching methods or materials.