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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

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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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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