Feedback—Fed Back

A pile of the students’ feedback questions: made as unintelligible as possible for web-publication

The final exercise in the feedback session was: Evaluation forms—revisited. At the end of each module (or sometimes when I am developing new sessions at the end of a session) I hand out feedback forms asking the students very focused and often slightly leading questions about their experience of my teaching. So to keep up the spirit of valuing feedback I handed out blank pieces of paper, asking the students to write down questions they would like to be asked. What are the kind of questions they would like to answer.

That shift of focus took some explaining and reiteration because it was a complete change of perspective. Granted two students misunderstood the task (or maybe not) and asked me feedback questions about themselves. Everyone else got into the spirit and some questions were very thought-provoking and interesting. I need to analyze them a bit more in depth but the one that jumped out at me right away was a student asking, if the context of the teaching content was made clear—probably because I felt this is one of the issues I always have a strong focus on and felt I might not always have been successful. It also hooks straight into my PhD research.

After the students finished writing down their questions, I told them I would use these questions to develop my evaluation form (Answered by a collective sigh, and me telling them they should have seen that one coming: laughter) and gave them some time to write on their paper “don’t use” if they did not want me to use their particular questions. For me this was an exercise in supporting student voice, gaining indirect feedback based on the questions asked, and raise awareness of the different dimensions of feedback.

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