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“Students are experts in how they see their world”


Moving from disciplining to teaching requires the cooperation of the students. It will be the students who are solving problems, accepting more responsibility, and working to learn and use more appropriate behaviors. Will the system you have designed meet the students’needs? Will the students be able to perform successfully with their new role? Will the methods that you use be effective? Observing and gathering feedback from the students is the only way to find the answers to these and other questions.

Many principals and teachers do not like using student evaluations or surveys. This is because the questions usually involve a rating system that turns the survey into a popularity contest. When using student input, ensure that you are asking for information about the students and that your questions require constructive feedback. Notice that the four questions below do not ask the students to rate the principal or teacher. They do ask what the principal or teacher did and its effect on them. They are not experts on educators, but do have meaningful knowledge of what works for them and what does not.

Making decisions is always easy if you have all the correct information. With using student input in the process, you will come much closer to having the information you need. The older the students get, the better the information, but even Pre-K students can surprise you with some profound recommendation or bits of information about themselves. Some experts say that leaders should include in the decision-making process everyone affected by the decision. Your use of problem solving, defining roles, setting expectations , etc. affect your students. They deserve to have input.

Practical application

The questions for the students are:

  • What are the things that I do that help you learn?
  • What other things can I do, stop doing, or change that will help you learn more?
  • What are the things that I do that help you enjoy the class?
  • What other things can I do, stop doing, or change that will help you enjoy the class more?

Compile the answers from the students (omitting any that are very personal in nature) and share with other teachers of the same grade or subject area. Grade level or subject area teachers can then summarize and share the results with the entire faculty and administration.

The results from this activity are usually enlightening. First, there is a general feeling of satisfaction, even happiness from all the positive things that the students write. Next, there is intrigue at the many excellent recommendations that students give for improvement. And finally, there is a sense of enthusiasm after knowing what the students like and want changed. Often, student responses to changes in instructional methods and activities are better and more constructive than adult classroom observations. Principals and teachers need to know what the students desire to have in the classroom and from the office. Principals and teachers want and need to learn too.

It is difficult not to be successful if you work cooperatively with the students. For best results, students should have input from the beginning to the end. This includes discussions about problem solving, learning from mistakes, using consequences instead of punishments, the role of the teacher and student, and so on. If this is done, it is very likely several students will comment on things that the principal or teacher had not thought of. They will bring up concerns that may only affect one or two students or events at a particular time of the year. In short, they will give you additional information that will improve your plans, methods, and decisions.

At some interval (often mid-semester), it is recommended that you get feedback on how it is working for them. This will give you additional information on what aspects are working well and what aspects need to be refined or need additional attention. The only caution here is to be patient. The previous example about the student who was referred to the office twenty-six times in the first semester and twice the second semester would have very different feedback in May than in October. A final caution is to overlook the exceptions. You will gather excellent information from most students, but there will always be one or two that might vent their frustrations or anger or just take it all as a joke. Do not let these exceptions deter you from using student input and working cooperatively.

Student input at the end of the year is usually the best. You will receive more thoughtful and expert assessments from the students. This is good for viewing your overall program, but the problem is that in the following year, you will have many new students. So, in some respect, you begin again. As you probably know, some years you get very meek and cooperative students and other years you get very bold and uncooperative students. Fortunately, new students quickly see what is expected and if most of the other students are solving their own problems, they will want to also.

Expected outcomes

  • Principals and teachers make better decisions.
  • Principals and teachers learn more effective strategies to use with the students.
  • Students take more ownership and responsibility for the school, class, and their learning.
  • The principal and teachers are modeling respect for students by listening, considering, and often using their input.
  • Student self-esteem is increased.
  • A more positive relationship between the principal, teacher, and the students is formed.
  • Disruptive behavior is greatly reduced.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, A learning approach to school discipline: problem solving instead of punishing. OpenStax CNX. Sep 07, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10443/1.5
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