Fire Up Your Class With Student-Interest Surveys
As we strive every day to improve the skills of young readers, writers, speakers, listeners, and thinkers, we are continually thinking about what will captivate their attention and keep them engaged. What will I do to make the curriculum of the school relevant to their lives?
Teachers that want to be culturally relevant do their best to incorporate relatable materials into their courses, such as articles, media, song lyrics and lyrics from speeches, websites, and film and documentary clips. This is exciting news for many instructors, but it is troubling news for others, particularly new teachers who are already feeling overwhelmed by planning, grading, and administration. Finding relevant, engaging information to utilise with kids takes time and effort, and this is no exception.
SNAG IDEAS FROM STUDENTS
What is the quickest and most effective way to find out what topics students are interested in? What are the most pressing issues on their minds? Inquire with them. Inquire of them frequently and in a variety of ways. Discover what people are interested in, such as the latest music, craze, or Netflix series that everyone is watching. It is our responsibility to be familiar with the cultures of our kids. In addition to ethnicity, culture include age group, trends, worries, and interests as well as other factors.
As teachers, we take on the role of researchers into the lives of the specific set of pupils that we educate. As a result, make sure to do the following on a regular basis:
Read the most recent children’s books or young adult novels, as well as periodicals and newspapers.
Visit websites that are tailored to the age and interests of the students at the grade level in which you teach.
Keep abreast of local trends that are relevant to the community in which you are employed as a teacher. (Trends may be restricted to a certain geographical area in some cases).
Be informed of national trends affecting children and adolescents, such as the current love for fidget spinners.
Wouldn’t your seventh-grade students be interested in reading an article about the history of those spinners, as well as the history of other fads that have captivated the attention of young Americans in the past, such as yo-yos, pet pebbles, Slime, or the Slinky, to name a few examples?
By posing questions to students and observing their responses, you might glean information on issues that are of particular interest (around music, for example). Next, consider the following question: While teaching pupils the necessary skills and academic requirements in the curriculum, how can I use this issue as a focal point in our unit of study? To get you started, here are a few general survey questions to get you thinking. Listed below are some examples of responses that may be typical of secondary students:
What is anything or someone that you personally are interested in learning more about? Construction, spoken word, computer code, [insert name of popular singer here], [insert name of popular singer here]
Make a list of all of the things that you wish you could learn in school but are unable to because of your current circumstances. (How to find your first job, how to save money, how to cook, how to make video games)
What is a profession or vocation that you are particularly interested in? (FBI agent, college student, hairstylist, and journalist.)
What are some of the aspects about the world that personally irritate you? What is a problem that people your age are concerned about? (younger brothers, adults not trusting children, pollution, the fact that fast food is unhealthy for you) For example: gossip, unjust regulations, not having enough money, gangs.
It is possible to create student surveys using free online survey platforms such as Socrative, PollEverywhere, Kahoot and Survey Monkey in class if both you and your students have internet connection in the classroom.
Consider creating surveys with questions and also posing a few assertions on a five-point Likert scale to see how they go over. The latter can assist you in determining student interest before to a unit. For example, you could tell students that “I tallied the numbers and there were twelve 5s and fourteen 4s, which shows me that the topic of is of interest to the majority of you.” “That is something we are going to look into next.” (Students are more candid and honest when they are not identified, therefore making their names mandatory on the survey is a good idea.)
In addition to conducting digital or paper surveys, you can get information about student interests by listening in on small-group discussions. Create groups of four or five pupils to brainstorm “issues of concern” for children their age, for example.
STUDENT CHOICE IS KEY
If we are to use student culture as a teaching tool, we must be willing to let go of more control than we already do when it comes to student choice. As an example, if you’re teaching expository writing, be open to the possibility of having all 32 students in your class write on a topic of their choosing rather than the one or two, or even three, topics you’ve traditionally assigned.
The following question was recently posed to my university students, who are pursuing certification as English language arts teachers: “What was your favourite music when you were in high school?” Manga, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Amy Tan, sports journalism, and hip-hop music are just a few of the topics that they mentioned. Afterwards, I posed the following idea: “What if your English teachers had asked you this question and then built learning activities and provided you with reading and writing options that incorporated your interests?” “How do you think that might have influenced your effort, as well as your development as a reader and writer?” Following that, there was a spirited conversation.
The beauty of our profession is that as instructors, we can maintain high academic standards while also engaging our pupils in areas that they are interested in, knowledgeable about, or concerned about. Just a little investigation will reveal what they are in specific.