Thursday, December 10, 2015

Using Surveys in the Classroom for Comparative Study

Having had my last class of Japanese with the Transition Years this Thursday (10th December), I took 2 surveys of the class for comparative purposes.

Firstly, I wanted to compare the answers this class would give compared to the first group of TY students to do Japanese. I gave them almost the same survey, although the last two questions were no longer limited to a selection of activities – instead, students were able to state their own preferences.

Secondly, I gave these students the same Teacher Review survey that I recently gave my 2nd Year music class. I wanted to see how this class viewed my teaching compared to the 2nd years, and I was particularly interested in the behavioural questions.

In response to the Teacher Review survey’s behaviour questions, it was almost a complete mirror of the 2nd Years’ responses. This TY class felt that I gave the right amount of punishment and was able to manage the class’ behaviour very well. The 2nd year class felt the opposite in last weeks’ survey. I think this is mainly due to the maturity and respect generally from the 4th Year class. Though of course there was some messing – mainly immature jokes, they did not disrupt the classes overall so I didn’t punish this except for a few times when I asked students to cut it out. The only time I had to strictly reprimand the class was for a ‘mildy racist’ comment made in the first class.

In response to the other survey which was more about the subject and curriculum I set, students this time were slightly more likely to choose Japanese as a Leaving Cert subject than the previous group. ‘Anime & Manga’ was by far the most enjoyed topic, as opposed to ‘Television’ in the previous group. These differences may be in part accounted for by the changes I made to the lesson plans and content of the lessons after the 1st group completed their surveys.

I think one of the important things to learn is that students’ opinion of a subject can be greatly influenced by the teacher and methods of teaching used in class. Since I took the opinions of Group A on board when they finished their Japanese module, I was able to better understand how my teaching would be received by the next group and adjusted the lesson plans accordingly.

Things to think about:
1.     Why are TYs more innately respectful and responsive to discipline than 2nd Years? Is this even the case?
2.     Could there be some well-refined set of activities that would encourage students to pick a certain subject for their Leaving Cert?
3.     What else besides the subject itself is enjoyable for students? (Teacher’s humour, other students in the class, games, competition etc.)

Links To Survey Results: