Taking a Survey in Your Classes

Blog Post by Martin Burke

This year, the art teachers in Portsmouth VA were asked to write our two blog entries according to two specific categories; one relating to our art class and one relating to our personal artwork. Since I usually write my blogs in October, and since I,  like a proper professional art instructor,  teach to the pace of a curriculum guide, I was afraid to write about the same project that we did at this time last year! SO, what to do? Well, I decided to do something near the midpoint of the semester that most teachers do near the end of their semester. I did a class survey! It was a little daunting because you know how the saying goes… “If you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask the question!” And yet, I certainly and totally embrace self improvement and growth in ANY endeavor I take on… especially as a classroom instructor! Will I ever fully master the “Art of teaching Art” to students? Nope. I suspect I will be learning everyday how to teach better until I hang up my smock. So here are the results of my survey. I asked three questions and students were instructed to submit their answers anonymously if they so desired. That way I was sure of getting down and dirty honest answers! I was shocked at some of the answers, disappointed in some of the others and yet pleased with some of the others but all in all I learned from them all. The questions were as follows:
#1 What has been the biggest challenge of being in this art class?
#2. What has been the biggest surprise about being in this art class?
#3. Would you take another art class—Why or Why not?
60 kids were surveyed. In response to question 1, over 30% said that drawing contour line drawings was their biggest hurdle! This is totally valuable to me! I must find a way to make drawing contours from observation more attainable! Shhhh, don’t tell my students but perhaps I will add more contour line warm up sketches throughout the year?!?!
In response to question 2, the most repeated answer was “Quizzes and Notes”. Exactly 20% gave this answer; or 1 out of very 5 students… I must admit that this year more than ever before I am giving my students more “Pre Quizzes” to see what they remember from my lectures the day before… The students may be grumbling but I am hoping that in the long run, my Exam grades will skyrocket!
Lastly, Question 3 yielded the most answers in the affirmative with 60% saying YES or MAYBE! That’s an ego boost! So what’s the final take-away? Keep it up fellow art teachers. 2 out of 3 kids maybe kinda yes want to be in another art class! Oh wait, you’re saying that was only MY class? Good point…maybe you should do your own survey and post the results here! Go get ‘em teachers!!!

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