Getting Feedback from Students
A Scientific Approach to Teaching
Getting feedback from students is a necessary part of understanding the effectiveness of your teaching and course design. In the following keynote, Eric Mazur discusses his own experiences with using this type of approach to teaching.
As you consider the many ways to start collecting feedback from your students, reflect on the following general tips and strategies.
General Tips and Strategies for Getting Feedback from Students
- Include an open-door/open-ears policy about feedback in your course syllabus, letting students know that you want to hear feedback from them during the semester, not to wait until the semester ends.
- Discuss feedback on the first day of class – both in terms of how you want to help them to become better students and also that you want to continuously become a better teacher. Set the climate for a feedback friendly classroom.
- Always follow-up when feedback is provided and offer some kind of response. Students appreciate when their feedback is recognized. If students feel their feedback was ignored this could have a negative impact.
- Consider feedback as a whole and do not get too upset by outliers. Even the very best teachers will get critical (and sometimes hurtful) feedback from a few students now and then.
- You do not have to respond to feedback in the moment. If you feel put on the spot, tell students you have heard their concerns and you need time to reflect and consider how to best incorporate their feedback.
- For challenging feedback, discuss with a colleague or with the appropriate GW department for more serious grievances.
- Keep in mind that it may take a lot of courage for a student to come to you with feedback. Even if you disagree, thank them for sharing and try to respond with this context in mind.