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Lesson 3: Tips On Interpreting And Responding To Student Feedback

"Respect from students is preferable to their immediate approval."

  1. Keep in mind that first teaching experiences are rarely the best that will be done.
  2. Focus on the feedback regarding your teaching activities.
  3. Put students' negative comments in perspective. Don't over generalize.
  4. Before obtaining student feedback, let the students know what you intend to do as a result of their responses. Then, give students your plans for change, if any, after you have received their feedback.
  5. Keep in mind that if you are new to teaching, you will probably be more sensitive to negative feedback. You might want a colleague to review the feedback with you for a more objective viewpoint.
  6. The more evidence that is collected, the more likely you will be able to see common themes, if there are any. In other words, do not make major changes based on one source of feedback.
  7. View student feedback as one piece of information versus as a comprehensive assessment.
  8. To help you become objective about the feedback, upon completing a comprehensive assessment, separate it into positive and negative comments and then regroup by subject such as textbook, teaching techniques, tests, etc. Then look at the frequency of these comments.
  9. In order for feedback to lead to improvement, it should do the following.
    • Tell you something you didn't know.
    • Be of value to you so that you want to change.
    • Include suggestions for change, if applicable.
  10. For ideas on improving or changing your teaching style, ask exemplary instructors if you can observe them teaching.

    What feedback activities would you select to address the problems/issues identified in the following scenarios?

Scenario 1

Two students have come to your office stating that they represent the whole class. They wish to make you aware that all of the students are having difficulty following your lectures and understanding what is important for them to know for the exams. What will your response be to this feedback?

Scenario 2

You have been teaching for two years and each semester your student evaluations indicate that students feel you have difficulty explaining the content clearly. You have decided to implement some new techniques to help remedy this problem and you wish to find out how effective these changes are prior to the end of the semester student evaluations. What action will you take? Be specific.

Scenario 3

You have tried a more collaborative approach to learning this semester and you wish to evaluate the process. What steps will you take. List a minimum of two.

Lessons: Index, 1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 2.2.3, 2.2.4, 2.2.5, 2.2.6, 2.2.7, 2.2.8, 3, References

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