I just taught a session on EAL (English as an additional language for those who are not in the field 🙂 ) focusing on strategies to improve the learning experiences of children and make them feel more included in the class. Since I planned the session as highly practical and engaging, I decided to ask the teacher trainees for feedback at the end. I had three reasons in mind:
1. To find out what people think about my teaching
I was interested in this feedback as I always have quite a negative perception of the quality of any writing / teaching / presenting I do. It might have to do with my ‘over-achiever’ perfectionist nature so I thought I needed evidence to proove to myself that I am actually not that bad and let go! It went well. The feedback was generally positive. There were minor points that I can take on board and I will. There were also bits of wishful thinking… Well, if I were given more time, I would have covered more material, done more practical activities, given more time for discussions. However, this was useful in finding out what my dear audience wanted to see and get from the session.
2. To assess the experimental approach I adopted for the session
I took quite a risk with a bilingual activity where no one except me could understand or read the language so I was quite excited about it. I was doing this type of teaching involving learning from experience for the first time and really wanted to find out if it was working or it was my initial feelings that were doing the trick. Seems that it worked as the activity was mentined a lot in the final feedback and people found it useful in giving them ideas to apply in their teaching of EAL. Now I feel I can be brave and try out other things in teaching at university.
3. To give the teachers-to-be an example of a feedback activity they could do at school.
Going back to the idea of experiential learning, I decided to link research and reporting by putting into practice some of the strategies I had observed in classrooms. This way teachers could experience the activity themselves and then use it in their classroom. I mentioned that depending on the age-range and time available it could be simplified and visualised a bit more.
This is a screenshot of the feedback slide, I asked for two bits of feedback – they could choose from all four categories. Then they were asked to stick their notes on the board for me to collect later. It was a good fun indeed!
Have you used feedback to improve your teaching? What have your experiences been?