One of the best things that you can do to improve yourself as an educator is to ask your students for feedback. They can provide insight into your teaching style and the efficacy of your methods. After all, the grades that your students get are often a reflection of you. Encouraging your students to provide feedback on you and your lessons can be challenging because they often feel a little uncomfortable doing so. Having the right techniques in place can help. Let’s explore.
Knowing When to Ask
Truthfully, as an educator, you should strive to build a classroom culture whereby feedback always is encouraged and actioned upon. That being said, it also makes sense to work out when the best time to get formal feedback would be. For the most part, this might be towards the end of the academic year or even at the end of each module. Ideally, you should be trying to check in with your students somewhat regularly so that you can adjust your approach accordingly.
Working Out What to Ask & How to Ask it
You need to encourage your students to give you meaningful, actionable feedback. The feedback that you get will depend on what you are asking and in what capacity. One of the best things that you can do is to give your students a survey. Realistically, you should be using a mix of open and closed questions to get a comprehensive view of what your students are thinking. For example, the live polling feature from a trusted platform, Vevox, can help you to poll your students for quick responses, which would then allow you to come up with survey questions depending on what the responses are.
When you open yourself up to feedback, regardless of who the feedback is from, it can be tempting to get defensive and discount the criticism completely. Obviously, this is not conducive to an environment where your students are going to feel comfortable giving you feedback. Remember, you are asking for feedback in order to improve yourself as a teacher and the experience that your students have. It is totally normal for bad feedback to hurt your feelings, but you need to do your best to remain impartial when the feedback is delivered. If you want to step away afterwards to compose your feelings, then, by all means, aim to avoid doing it in front of the students.
In The End
Asking for feedback can be daunting regardless of your position or the purpose of the feedback; however, it is important if you want to ensure that your students are going to get everything they can out of your lessons. Asking your students for feedback can feel like you are giving up some of your power as an authority figure, but you need to remember that their opinions matter because they are the ones who are tested on your efforts. Obviously, you can and should also ask your colleagues for feedback, especially those with more teaching experience than you.