IT was gutsy feedback – not vindictive, but unapologetically frank, and backed by data.
Students from Wodonga Senior Secondary College recently presented some constructive criticism to their teachers as part of an interesting new program called Teach the Teacher.
It involves students consulting with their peers and gathering data about the issues that matter the most to them in the classroom.
The goal was to deliver the findings from that data to their teachers to improve the way lessons are taught.
One of the biggest issues raised by students was the amount of time substitute teachers had to prepare for classes.
WSSC’s Sheri Parkhouse said the program had been an illuminating, if occasionally challenging experience for teachers.
“For me, it’s inspiring,” she said.
“I think it’s great that our kids want to participate in their own education.
“They presented to our teachers here, went all out and spoiled them with cupcakes and food, and gave them the feedback.
“It was quite staggering what the kids came up with.
“It shocked the teachers, it certainly wasn’t what they expected.”
Student Jordan Ross said delivering the results of their surveys had been intimidating at first, but ultimately worthwhile.
“We surveyed about half the student body about how they felt about their teachers using 20 questions,” he said.
“Students found their teachers didn’t prepare their CRTs very well, and felt their teachers were disorganised, which was surprising.
“It was a bit intimidating, but I think we did a good job.
“It was definitely really important, it gives students the opportunity to raise the issues that need to be raised, then solutions can be found for them.”
The presentations have already made an impact – WSSC principal Vern Hilditch has commenced consultations about how to improve the preparation process for CRTs.
The students also made a presentation to a group of principals from across the area about the data-gathering process and their findings.
“Generally, the feedback was positive that the kids were taking actions and wanted to see their school improve,” Ms Parkhouse said.
“These are the big issues in our school, and a big thing within the Department of Education at the moment is giving the students a voice.
"They also presented findings to about 60 other principals from across the state.
“The kids did a wonderful job with this.”
Wodonga Middle Years College will be the next school to take part in the Teach the Teachers program.
The project is led by the Victorian Representative Student Council.
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