Make Sure Your Evaluations Aren’t “Evil-uations”
Does this apply to you?
To many (most?) college instructors, “student evals” are a once-a-term event that prompts a bit of anxiety and not much more. Your students complete them, they are sent in a sealed envelope to someone at your college who reviews them, and later you receive the results. The moment arrives. Drum roll!!! With fear and trepidation, you open the envelope. There are the ratings and comments from students. They are good, bad or indifferent. You close the envelope, file it (possibly in the circular file), and you move on. That is, you move on unless they were really bad.
I doubt you ever thought of students this way before.
Terms like raw material, assembly line worker, quality control inspector, product, and customer mean something to most of us. Just to be sure we are on a level playing field, I will put these in the context of a clothing manufacturer. Raw materials include the fabric used to make pants. Pieces of fabric are cut to shape and sewn together by an assembly line worker known as a seamstress to make the product, a pair of pants. A quality control inspector checks to make sure the product meets certain standards, for example the quantity of legs. Assuring there are two legs, the inspector puts a little slip of paper in the pocket that reads, “Inspected by No, 7.” Now, if there are fewer than two legs or there are no pockets, I am not sure what the inspector does. But, somehow, the pants make it to the store where I, the customer, shop. Unfortunately, I don’t realize the problem until I get them home and have no place to put my left leg. (Don’t you just hate it when that happens?)
No, but you do need to help them learn.
A common complaint I hear from students is that their teacher doesn’t explain things well. It may be that the instructor actually explains things extremely well. However, students learn by more than hearing. They want to see how problems are solved, and they need practice solving problems themselves. These represent the three primary ways in which students (or anyone, you and me included) learn. Read on.
Principle 4: Prompt Feedback
David Royse (2001) (see my References page) gives an especially good summary of Chickering and Gamson’s findings after many years of research into teaching and learning. Here are the seven principles as paraphrased by Royse:
Maybe so, because we know they will always be prepared.
( Note: If you use equipment of any kind when you teach, pay close attention to Item 6. )
The Boy Scout motto, everyone knows it. “Be Prepared.” There is no better advice of a college instructor. I want to couple this with the old Head & Shoulders tag line from half a century ago. “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”
No, not unless you do it like a former adjunct of mine.
He was a motivated and passionate instructor who had retired from a successful career in industry and was now teaching college science courses on a part-time basis. What he did, or actually what he didn’t do, led to hours of my time to sort through and rule on a formal grade appeal lodged by one of his students. This occurred because the instructor counted class participation for 15 percent of the final grade, but he neither defined what constituted class participation nor gave students feedback on their participation.
A list of behaviors that characterize a good lecturer.
David Royse, editor and contributing author of Teaching Tips For College and University Instructors. (See my references page or check it out by clicking on the right.) Royse believes that a successful lecturer is someone who:
Do You Have the Personality to Succeed as an Instructor?
I found this presentation ( – – – open this post to see the presentation – – – ) on a website entitled SUCCESS 360. On slide 12 the author, Vadim Kotelnikov, suggests that one’s knowledge accounts for just 15 percent of that person’s financial success. Personality, he contends, is responsibility for the other 85 percent.