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Kristen Jackson Field Seminar 3/10/13 Artifact 4: Surveys Toward the beginning of my first pickup last semester, I gave

my students a survey to see where they were and to establish that I was their teacher and thus needed to know what they wanted from me in terms of instruction and activities in class. I did not realize that this would become the backbone of my coming inquiry. Many of the questions I asked were simply for my own knowledge, but have come to inform the trajectory of my inquiry analysis. Many of the questions were posed initially to inform my understanding of my students and their needs. This survey was very direct, and gave students the option to rate the questions on a scale of 1-10, and then explain their answers. The goal in asking questions like the ones given were to gauge how students perceived their own behavior. My goal in instilling self-assessment skills has become one centered around getting way from the right answer. Students often answer questions believing that there is a right and wrong answer that the teacher is looking for. Instead of asking them how I may perceive their behavior, I simply asked them. Over time, hopefully they will begin making I statements about their behavior as a reflection of their own understanding of their behavior. The sequence of questions was deliberate in order to ask them to evaluate their own behavior, and then to assess how it impacted their performance.

However, I realized that in asking them to rate their behavior and explain why they gave themselves that grade still asks them to tell me what was right or wrong about their assessment. Thus, I was forced to define what it meant to accurately define or assess oneself. In this respect, I realized that I was still looking for specific answers from specific students. As I will evaluate later, I looked for the students who are poorly behaved to express that. This in turn asks for the very thing I wanted to avoid which was looking for a right answer. I tried to change this in the next few surveys. Instead of asking leading questions in the second survey, I asked direct questions about a specific instance, and then used that to expand.

Although this poses a similar scenario of there being a perception that the teachers perception is right, I wanted students to ask themselves if their behavior aligned with what I would have expected from a class. From this and given the answers I received, I realized that it was not a horrible thing that my expectation of their answers is predicated on their understanding of my

demands. Fundamentally, the classrooms rules are not based on a general understanding of right and wrong but my own interpretation of it. Although I want to avoid this notion of supreme authority in a classroom, there still needs to be a delineation of whats acceptable based on someones dictation. And that someone, in my classroom, is me.

The final survey was a little longer than the first two, in order to establish their understanding of respect and creating a safe space. After several conversations with Lindsay about establishing respect in the classroom, I wanted to know what they believe respect looks like, to begin drawing parallels between respect outside of school and in school. This still opened the door for them to define respect in their own terms, and then evaluate themselves based on those requirements. I think this successfully avoided the teacher as supreme authority complex I have probably rested on for too long in my class. Although I do not want to erode that completely (I do believe that the teacher should generally dictate the direction classroom culture goes) this allowed them to define something but still assess themselves based on that scale. As we will see, many of them find themselves to be respectful according to their own standards but not according to the schools standards, which I found quite interesting.

The surveys served several big picture purposes in accomplishing the objective of instilling reflective practices through self-assessment. Primarily, each survey asked students to define a topic and then grade themselves on that topic. In the third survey, I asked students what respect was and then allowed them to define it. Although the answers varied, I wasnt looking for uniformity. I was instead hoping to allow students to set parameters and then measure their own performance against those parameters. This is outlined more in depth by Noonan and Duncan, who identify self-assessment [as] the ability of a student to judge his/her performance, that is, to make decisions about ones self and ones abilities (Noonan, 2005). In order to assess ones abilities, they have to be allowed to determine what the standard should be. Several questions asked students to define the standard of an idea before assigning a grade. Another survey asked students to first tell me what they feel behavior in a classroom should look like, especially when a substitute is there, and then whether or not they acted in accordance to that. This was one step out of many that pushed students to self-assess for the purpose of reflecting. In asking students if they conformed to their own definition of respect or good classroom behavior, they are inherently taking responsibility for their actions; positive or negative. This accomplished a small goal in that it pushed students to self-assess in the way that Noonan and Duncan outline is most successful: asking them to identify their performance as it measures up to their abilities.