Academic achievement is one of the most important performance indicators that judge an instructional method or the instructor themselves. This is particularly true in today’s data-driven society, where a teacher’s job, merit pay, and reputation can depend on test scores, and a school’s government funding is partly reliant on where the institution lies on the standardized test results of the state and compared to the nation.
The importance of high-impact teaching strategies for a scholar’s reputation and an institution’s goals because of this correlation is therefore a crucial variable. Many instructors seek out multiple methods of feedback to guide them in the reflection of their teaching practices, including student feedback and engagement. This authentic form of critiquing comes directly from the source impacted by the instructional strategy and can be instrumental in driving change and improving pedagogy. With this result, the institution’s goals are closer to being met and academic achievement is raised, so student feedback is a popular strategy chosen for instructor reflection.
What Factors Constitute a High-Impact Teaching Strategy?
There are lessons that instruct, and then there are lessons that engage. A high-impact teaching strategy causes students to engage their thinking processes on higher levels that create analysis, synthesis, and relevant application, as well as encouraging them to build their judgment capabilities uniquely. To do this, certain elements are always included in high-impact lessons, such as:
● A clearly defined goal that the teacher sets and the students are aware of
● A lesson that is structured through a sound mapping that follows specific steps and transitions to the next process smoothly
● Explicit teaching strategies in which the instructor models the expected outcome, then uses scaffolding to ensure students are learning
● Collaborative learning strategies that offer students the opportunity to instruct and learn from others, discussing different ways of thinking on the same topic
● Multiple exposures to the content and goals through opportunities that allow for questioning, differentiated teaching, and metacognitive situations
When all of these key elements are involved in a lesson, it is almost always highly impactful to the students’ academic achievement.
How Student Feedback is Essential in Reflection
Soliciting student feedback is an important tool instructors can use when they reflect on their own performance and attempt to improve their pedagogical skills. This type of feedback is most commonly obtained through surveys that students can complete, either anonymously or identified. The surveys typically ask questions that the instructor wishes to reflect upon and uses a rating method for students to gauge the impact of the lesson or teacher in that area.
When student feedback is collected regularly through collaborative methods, both parties build trust that the students’ answers are appreciated and safe, and therefore, they become more authentic. This legitimate feedback can be a valuable tool for instructors to use to improve their lessons and teaching styles since it informs the teacher as to how effective their practices are, can suggest future improvements, and creates a conversation between the teacher and student in which the instructor can see more of the individual person and learn what works and doesn’t for them.
Strategies to Encourage Student Feedback and Engagement
How you want to solicit feedback is completely up to you and what works for your reflective style. Some instructors do this after what they consider critical lessons, while others wait until the end of the semester or year to offer surveys that they use to drive their next semester/year.
You can do this at any time through strategies such as:
● Creating focal groups of specific students that represent demographics you were attempting to improve on in your instruction and meeting with them independently or in a small group to solicit specific feedback through direct questions
● Using a form, either computer-generated through survey creators or printed on paper, to ask questions and collect feedback
● Offering students the opportunity to leave feedback anonymously in a safe place any time of year or at specific junctures
All of these methods of feedback collection can be wonderful avenues for you to learn how your instructional practices are being perceived by those who are directly impacted by them. Reflection, from there, is authentic and natural growth that enhances and improves student academic achievement, the goals of the institution, and your reputation as a scholar.
Using Impactio to Improve Your Reputation as a Scholar
Student feedback and reflection are some ways to ensure you are doing everything you can to provide authentic, relevant, and impactful instruction. Continuing to publish your findings as an academic is another way, and Impactio makes this easy for you as you juggle multiple important hats
Academic researchers have the expectation on them that they stay relevant in their field by releasing publications in legitimate journals, but the demands of the research and their teaching requirements make it difficult to do everything. Impactio is an all-in-one platform designed for scholars to make this a smoother process.
Impactio lets you spend more time doing what’s important, such as reflection, and less time putting together your results.