At the end of the semester, students get to evaluate the course I teach. My students completed their evaluations last night. I had already begun to make changes to the course for the next semester so I was very interested to see if their suggestions coincided with mine. Many mentioned how much writing they did and that the pace (an essay) a week was too much. I had already eliminated one essay. Maybe I need to eliminate another one. Numerous students stated that they wanted more time at the beginning of the course to get the basics down. Although I had built more into the beginning of the course, I will relook at it even more. I will delay the first essay until I know they understand the format and specificity that I want. This semester the course started with an essay the first week and I spent much time in correcting basic learning gaps. A student complained that I talked too fast; I thought I had slowed down.
Although no one mentioned doing more in-class mini-writing, I will have them do more write your thesis, identify your major topics and evidence through a graphic organizer. I will model each writing through a think-aloud so that they know the degree of thinking required. I will post an exemplar for them to study. I will build in more time for small groups so that I can work in direct instruction with small groups or individuals during class. I want to build in more stepping stones to success this coming semester. I want them to climb higher than this semester’s students and to have less frustration in doing it.
What changes will you make for the next time you teach your course to help the future students better achieve the standards?