Google Forms Fosters Inquiry Based Teaching

This survey was submitted to a group of ten teachers at one of the school sites that I work with as an instructional math coach. As part of my graduate capstone project, we will be starting an instructional observation strategy called Instructional Rounds. Instructional Rounds is a process whereby teachers observe other classrooms in order to inform instruction, learning and best practices using a rubric to guide observation. For the purposes of our Instructional Rounds, we will be focusing on observing the level and amount of student mathematical discourse during math class.

In the questioning, I decided on two objectives. First, I wanted to keep the survey short so busy teachers wouldn’t mind completing it. I even embedded the survey in the email, so they could see that it was easy and short. I also made it anonymous so that they would feel comfortable being honest with their level of understanding and questions. Second, I focused in on three basic questions: What is the level of understanding?; What are your questions?; What do you hope to learn?. The purpose of questions one and two was to get a quick idea of how much information teachers would need to know to be successful and how much anxiety the teachers were experiencing. The last question was a way to perceive ahead of time any misconceptions or issues that would need to be addressed before we start in a few weeks to make sure that time spent is educational and targeted in the intended direction.

Within one day, there were 5 teacher responses out of 10 invitations. There was a direct relationship between level of understanding and the number of questions. This helped me to understand that there was a fair level of concern with the participants; 3 out of 5 teachers had valid questions about either the process or the purpose of Instructional Rounds. Conversely, two out of five participants had a higher level of understanding and no questions.  After analyzing the teachers goals I noticed that 2 of the participants with lower understanding were looking to gain classroom management ideas and 3 participants were really looking for instructional  best practices.  It would be interesting to know if the amount of years a teacher has taught is related to the type of questions or goals they submitted. None of the teachers asked a question or stated a goal that was student learning oriented. This was interesting to me.

Using Google Forms is not new to me. I used to use them and then stopped using them for some reason. Since then, Google has made them a lot easier to use then they used to be. The analytical charts function is also an easier feature to use than in the past, so it makes a great visual for inquiry based teaching practices. A huge benefit of this is that when I shared the survey and the results spreadsheet with my site administration, she was able to respond to the concerns and questions the same day with supportive documentation. It was truly amazing! It felt like she read the participants minds. The reason why this is a huge benefit is that when people take risks to try new innovations, it is best they feel heard and responded to quickly, so they spread positive impressions of their experiences. We have plans to do a follow-up survey the day of the Instructional Rounds between  the rubric calibration meeting and before we begin to  gain information about teacher understanding of the day’s objective. Additionally as a de-brief, we will use Padlet to do a last survey to get teacher impressions about the experience. This information will be used for future program improvement and as a reassurance for future reluctant teachers who are afraid to participate.

One negative I noticed is that when I embedded the form in the email, it did not have a pleasing appearance and one of the questions was changed from a scale type question to a short answer. Then when I went to submit my answers, nothing happened, so I had to click the link to the survey anyway. Next time I will just email the link so the participant has the intended experience I wanted them to have.  I will definitely recommend Google Forms to other teachers to use. Using Google Forms actually made me more excited about my project! See below for the survey link and results. (Please do not take the survey, as it will skew my results!)

Instructional Rounds Survey

Results 

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