Back to school is a period of not just returning to school, but building relationships with both students and teachers. As a teacher, you are going to meet diverse students from various backgrounds. It is very important to connect with them on a personal level because that is the only way you can build long-lasting relationships with them.
For that reason, we have compiled check-in questions for students that will enable you to have a better understanding of your students’ backgrounds. Knowing their backgrounds is a way to know them deeper because you will deal with them based on your knowledge of them. More emphatically, you will become empathetic to them while dealing with them on an individual basis.
For you to teach and get students to enjoy the atmosphere, they must see themselves valued, feel safe around you and enjoy a sense of connection with you. As a result, they will freely open up to you, just about anything, while you create a better learning structure that cultivates belonging and connectedness.
Why Should You Check-in on Your Students?
So much of the classroom experience is designed around face-to-face experiences. There should be an in-person interaction that helps the students feel connected to the teachers and their classmates. If they do not feel connected, they will spontaneously check out. Well, when a student checks out of the classroom, you may never get them again, even though they are still present.
Moreover, this disconnection could result in their feeling pressured to attend school. As a result, the class may experience lower turnover in the number of students, lower completion of class tasks, and invariably, lower achievement.
As a teacher, it is compulsory for you to intentionally create a sense of presence with your students through check-ins.
The check-in questions could include how they are navigating their classwork or how challenging they are finding their new class. This could happen if you discover that their response to academic activities is not encouraging. From there, they could open up to you over more serious issues.
Furthermore, you can ask them about their group members and how they are going along with them. This is a way to know a child who is not adjusting well with their peers and those who are on top of the game.
The check-in questions may also relate closely to their classroom projects. You might be surprised that they did not even understand the instructions you gave. What should you do? You will need to shed light on some delusions and provide additional resources to the students. If possible, you can help them to track and record specific academic goals.
You can also shift from the classroom and ask them questions about their favorite foods, video games, or even a dance class they took. The students feel that you have their interest at heart when you go out of your way to ask them personal questions.
However, if from their response, they need to pay a visit to the school counselor or psychologist, encouraging them to do so will be a great thing you can do for them.
Can I Check-in Students Virtually?
During the pandemic, most schools found themselves operating virtually. It was a new concept to some teachers and their students. Although it was challenging, it helped some schools to build an online learning environment where the teachers and students can still feel connected. Here are some ideas that can help virtual check-ins:
- Social-emotional pulse check – you can do this in form of a preparation activity that takes place using the video conference. You can ask the students some questions on the platform. The chat rooms can be used by the students to share their answers. Make it as creative as possible. Then, give them some exercises that would tax their brains and bring about the desired result.
- Video check-ins – you can create a video and encourage them to create theirs too. The aim of video check-ins is for them to share how they feel and have a sense of control. Pay attention to their tone of voice and body language. Applaud them for their efforts.
- Small group check-ins – you can arrange a small video conferencing meeting for the students after grouping them into different teams. While meeting with them, observe their abilities and progress. You can use that avenue to share some academic projects for each group and rate their performances based on the strength of individual groups.
- Email check-ins – you can send an email to the whole class, giving them expectations and deadlines for their activities. Ensure to ask certain questions too, including how they are faring. You can make it a weekly email, just make sure that every student is carried along.
- Survey check-ins – create a survey for the class and ask your students to fill it out, sharing their experiences as they learn remotely. Include a few questions that will help you to assess their social-emotional status and how they are coping with learning. Do not pile up the survey. Make it as few and adequate as possible.
- One-on-one video conferencing – you can schedule a video conferencing individually with the students. Help them reflect on their lives and activities by asking them reflective questions. After that, you can assess their performance and status.
- Phone call check-ins – you can connect with the students through phone calls. The aim is to know how they are doing. Ask them a few questions that would guide them to open up on any challenges they are facing.
It is good to ask the students their preferences for check-ins. It wouldn’t be bad if they are allowed to make a choice based on how they feel.
What Kind of Questions Help the Students See Themselves as Learners?
The questions are focused on the students and not you as their teacher or the classroom. This is to help them know more about themselves first before they move towards the class content and knowledge. Self-awareness is key to learning, the reason you must help them understand themselves. Above all, the questions will gear them towards becoming independent and learning on their own. That is to say, although you focus on the students’ personalities, it does not mean that personal questions relating to their education should not be asked.
These kinds of check-in questions are good for the first days at school. Aside from knowing themselves, they are setting the tone of the class. Do not forget that self-knowledge is the ultimate goal of any system of education.
Strategies to Help You Ask Relevant Check-in Questions to the Students
It is not surprising to see these check-in questions as challenging. If they are not challenging, you may never get to achieve your goals. No matter the circumstance, design them in a way that the students can answer them easily. You can also help them to answer the questions by giving them clues and suggestions.
Nevertheless, here are some ways you can make the check-in questions for your students become fun:
- Divide them into groups – you can break the students into four groups (or less/more, depending on the numerical strength). Have them discuss each set of questions as a group. Afterwards, record their answers based on their group strength.
- Choice – give them the option of choosing the questions they want to respond to. They can skip the ones they do not want to answer.
- Personalise the check-in questions – let the questions be designed in such a way that the students answer them from their hearts. Let the questions point towards ideas that will help them become self-aware. If possible, let it bring out topics they may never have thought about.
- Make sure the questions are more open-ended. If they are open-ended, it will challenge the students to think and reason well. Even if they did not get the response immediately, it should stir up something in them.
- Ask the students why they think the check-in questions are important. They may not have thought about the aim and when you ask them, it will help them to think deeply before responding.
- Make the best out of the questions. You can turn the questions into topics for discussions, debates and other stuff that are brain taxing. It is a way to develop their intellectual prowess, increase their self-esteem and help them become bold to face challenges.
30 Check-in Questions Every Student Should Be Able To Answer
In conclusion, asking the students these questions from time to time is an interesting way to build them up and help them realize their potential. They may end up becoming independent so quickly. There are a thousand and one questions you can ask your students. Do not restrict them to this article alone. Your students are your priorities, do your best to bring out the best in them.