Getting to Know Our Students - Starting a Student-Centered Approach

My team is moving to a more student-centered approach to our teaching this upcoming year. During the first week, we’re planning to survey students to learn more about them and how they learn best. We created this Formative (one of four) as a learning environment survey.

Our goal is to collect the data and use it to provide an environment where every student will be successful. The first part of the survey collects demographic information and will make it easier for us to sort the data as we have over 100 students. The second part asks specific questions about things we have control over in our learning environment.

Any feedback or ideas you have about starting the school year with a student-centered approach would be greatly appreciated.


Really nice job with the formative. For the learning styles portion, are you planning to give them some information about each, other than the images included? In my middle school experience, I’ve found that students tend to make assumptions without really understanding them. I found this video that although not very engaging could be added to your formative or shared with the class before they take the survey.


I really like the idea of having the student input on which part of the room they prefer to be a part of. The one thing that I might stay clear of is learning styles. The idea of auditory, visual, etc. is a myth.
Maybe it would be better to focus on the idea of metacognition and having the students think more about strategies and skills that work for them.


This is awesome Laurie! I think you are going to get some really useful data to modify your learning environment. I also really like how you ask students about their existing peer relationships so you know where to start from in terms of helping them build more!

Thanks for sharing the link. When it comes to learning styles I always thought I was a visual learned, but that’s really not the case. I found my prefered learning style is based on the task. This year,
I want my students “thinking about thinking”, “knowing about knowing”, becoming “aware of one’s awareness” and higher-order thinking skills, in the hopes of getting students to articulate what they learned.


I love this. I have struggled myself to figure out how to get this type of data. I and other teachers have had to rely on test results that were conducted by our school and personal observations made by me and fellow Visual Arts Teachers.
I would agree with mgarcia. Will learning styles be explained to them? Maybe asking more personal questions, eg… “I like to read books with plenty pictures? versus I like to read books with only texts”… to determine the learning styles could be added to truly determine or give you that data…
Lovely way to get to know your students. I like how you asked them what stance they prefer and where and whom they would like to sit with our work with. …:grinning:

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Yes! That is definitely everything associated with metacognition. I came across this article today. Now I don’t have the ability in my class at this time to have students do something like this research paper, but I definitely want to start out the school year with Stephen Chew’s “how to get the most out of learning” youtube videos. I think that is something that I need to revisit at the start of almost every unit, or at least if they go longer.

Hope you enjoy!


I found this on YouTube which I think Parents and Students would enjoy viewing.
It explains Learning styles using examples from movies.

Thanks and I do intend to find a way to kick start my new school year with the new students coming in.

Also a great tool for differentiating lessons.

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Thank you for the feedback. My plan is to have a discussion with my students before they start the survey. I actually use a separate learning styles survey but wanted to have the information all in one place.

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Thanks for the video suggestion. It will definitely appeal to students.

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This is great. I teach 1st grade and we did something a bit like this. Our students drew to answer questions about their likes and dislikes. We loved it!

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