When teacher feedback was first introduced two years ago, the idea of being able to provide valuable feedback to teachers was exciting. But two years on, the program continues to suffer due to poor execution.
Teacher feedback is a crucial part of the education process. For students, it forces us to reflect on how our education is working for us, and more importantly, for teachers, it allows them to improve and adapt their teaching styles to fit certain classes. But currently these two benefits of feedback are not coming to fruition.
As it stands, the teacher feedback process is weak. Many of my teachers have yet to even hand out a feedback form this year.
But that’s not the real problem. The issue is how the feedback is acted upon, and how that information is made visible. In some of my classes this year, I have seen concrete changes to my educational experience as a result of teacher feedback, while in others, it seems as if many comments were ignored entirely.
We cannot continue on this path of half-hearted teacher feedback. Because, if I’m being honest, feedback has to be done properly or be scrapped. It is only worth our time if it is done properly.
Feedback can be extremely effective, but currently its true potential is being limited. The administration, faculty and students must collectively pursue a better way of performing teacher feedback.
The better process starts with ensuring that every class actually performs teacher feedback. I have yet to complete feedback for any of my elective courses, and two of my core classes. It cannot be something that is optional, it cannot be something that’s forgotten. Feedback is a necessary process that every student has the right to complete and contains information that every teacher deserves to know.
The most meaningful experience I have had with feedback came in English Department Head Meghan Tally’s Modern World Literature: Africa course. The entire class completed a survey anonymously, and then, a couple of classes later, Tally compiled all of our responses and we discussed them, finding solutions as a class to problems and ways to continue what’s working. The results that came out of our discussion were impressive: Our class continued to grow, and Tally was able to respond to our concerns quickly and effectively. This process must continue throughout the school.
If every class follows a similar process, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have similar results. Of course, an art class is different from an English course, but at the end of the day, if we improve the feedback process to become more meaningful, everyone will benefit.