- By working with students to craft a school survey designed to strengthen the relationship between educators and the student body, Emma Chiappetta, a math teacher and Gender and Sexuality Alliance faculty sponsor at Wasatch Academy in Utah, found students had a number of suggestions on what to ask — or not — to build inclusion and engagement, she writes for Edutopia.
- For example, students want to be asked about their pronouns and the name by which they prefer to be called, but educators should not force pupils to answer that or any question, including those about their sexuality or relationship status. On the other hand, questions that uncover their values or something students have gleaned outside of the classroom can help educators differentiate student learning.
- Surveys should also be structured so students can answer or share about something not asked. And teachers should make students aware they’ve read through the surveys, maybe even commenting on one, as they also answer the questions, allowing students to learn a bit about their teachers, too.
By gaining personal information about a student’s ability, interests and life, teachers can better connect to pupils and potentially create a more personal connection to their lessons. Surveys can help teachers uncover these personal details, which can then be tapped as a way to engage students in curriculum by giving them options to tie these interests to their learning.
By giving students a chance to bring their personalities and talents or passions into the classroom, educators give them more latitude in showing what they've learned. This can be done through a variety of methods like project-based learning, which can include portfolios, an assessment method that gives students some autonomy to reveal their academic progress no matter the subject, from art to science. Digital portfolios, which are created fully online or scanned and submitted digitally, can also add another layer to learning by helping classes develop web-based tools in the process.
In tying personal interests to lessons, and giving students the opportunity to have some choice in their education, educators may not only spark a child’s interest but also motivate them to further their learning, notes the American Psychological Association. And by giving students some autonomy in their learning, the APA also notes students may deepen their confidence as learners, finding a way to be successful in their studies across all subjects.