December 13, 2010

Swimming or sinking in English...(EC1)

In the last lessons of the semester I take a plunge into the icy waters of self reflection, and to help me on this journey I asked some of my students for anonymous feedback.  Well, perhaps it's not so representative, (since I didn't ask all my classes to do this), and perhaps as some might say, "The message says more about the sender than the receiver, as a rule," but still, I take these comments fairly seriously...
So what did they say? Lots of good things, I'm happy to report - Fun class, I'm straight to the point, I explain things well, I am a good listener (wow!), lots of variety, podcasts are interesting... and...
On the downside, some things to consider - hm... my timekeeping could be improved - ouch, but too true, need to not only get my watch repaired but work on getting there a few minutes early!
And there are also some interesting comments on the contents of the course, such as:

"It’s a shame that our English program doesn’t include a use of English section (Cambridge). It tests our normal and expression vocab which is rather important."

"[It would be] better that writing and reading is apart, because now we need to practice for both at the same time."
"English level is [too] high and needs more classes."
Just to give some context - the course is based quite closely on the IELTS model - and in one semester of 13 weeks we attempt to bring all students to a similar level in the areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing. For many, that is quite a challenge, while for others, the course is perfectly doable. Personally, I had fun teaching this course, but how did they feel? Apart from the obvious question - how well the students will perform on the tests - I want to find out if am I teaching it the right way for most students? I think that what most students don't realize is how their comments do make a difference to the teachers - well at least to me! And do they know how much I stress about their feedback - carefully checking if I'm on the right track or not, or should I say - Whether I am still swimming in the fast lane ?


  1. What most teachers don't realize is how important it is for students to be able to voice their comments! Glad you do! Good to see you set the mark for courage to confront and accept the response. May many teachers follow your example and may many students understand how important they are,taking part in the development of their courses and sharing the responsibility of teaching and learning.
    To realize they can improve on what is happening,creating,alongside their teachers,a win win situation.

  2. Thanks Laura! I think a lot of other teachers do listen to students, but indeed it's something that perhaps should be more popular, especially among less popular teachers...

  3. It's really good to see you really think about the feedback. Some teachers get feedback but do not really use it. And one more thing I wanted to say is: I really like how you write this blog it's interesting and fun to read ;)
    Greetings from Esther