Effective Feedback – Gowsi (CTE Co-op Student)

Feedback Notes

Entering my third year at the University of Waterloo, one thing that never crossed my mind was the idea of higher learning and teaching. I never thought to myself about how any of my classes could be improved. Was it because I did not care or was it because I was not asked?

Since working at CTE I constantly find myself analyzing my past professors and their teaching methods to see if they were actually effective. As a Sociology major I find that most my classes should have been more engaging. There are many ways professors could have engaged students to want to learn, using methods such as effective discussions or switching up the delivery of the content. But the problem was that many of my teachers never asked me how I felt about the class. As a result, I rarely found myself focused on lectures. This is why feedback is necessary in courses. Feedback in a classroom setting is beneficial to both parties involved. The students giving the feedback are able to critically examine the teaching method. The receiver of the feedback, the teacher, can get a better understanding of the effectiveness of their teaching method. The feedback allows them to cater towards students need and create a better learning atmosphere.

Feedback must have a balance of perfect timing and effective questions to be valuable to students and teachers. I have written many feedback forms for my courses at the end of the term. But what is the point of that, the students filling out the feedback forms don’t get to see any of the results. Don’t get me wrong, feedback at the end of the semester for a class is beneficial, but not for the writers. As a student I want to see the changes made from my feedback first hand to benefit me. Implementing a system of feedback throughout the term would increase student engagement and participation.

For the first time in my university existence I was asked to give feedback within the first few weeks of class this term. My professor had asked us questions based on the simple feedback mechanism called SKS. The professor simply asked the student what he should Stop, Keep, and Start doing. The next class he would display the outcome of the feedback in a graph, a simple and easy way to read the results. This method allowed students to expose their issues with the class early and allowed the professor to assess such issues early enough that the class could mover forward without any issues. He then changed his method of delivery to benefit the majority of the class.  This schedule of feedback throughout the semester should be implemented in all courses the university provides. Students in the classroom feel more welcomed because it shows that the teacher is interested in the success of their students. I guess the takeaway of this blog is that everyone is aware of the benefits of feedback, but what is key, is to begin the process sooner then later.