BY ASHLEY NEQUEST
As students we receive feedback on a fairly regular basis. Our teachers constantly tell us how well we are learning the required material and how we are doing on assignments and tests. We receive posted grades and feedback on eConestoga as well as red writing all over the assignments we hand in. Teachers do all of this so we know what aspects of our course material we are, or are not, excelling in.
Once a semester select students in select classes have the opportunity to fill out anonymous surveys (called Student Appraisal of Teaching or SATs) for certain teachers. This means there are plenty of students who do not get an opportunity to give opinions on the way someone teaches a specific course. The results from these surveys are not released to the teacher until the course is over, by which point it is far too late for them to improve and help their current students to the best of their abilities.
If every student receives feedback to become the best student she can possibly be, we should extend the same opportunity to the teaching staff. It should be a matter of every student filling out an SAT for every course.
As a second-year journalism – print student I had the opportunity to assess one of my four core teachers this semester as well as the professor for my psychology course. However, I was not allowed to provide feedback for the one teacher I would have actually liked to complete a SAT for.
There needs to be ample opportunity for every single teacher to be able to improve themselves as an educator after hearing what students from a variety of courses have to say about their current methods.
Completing something like a SAT for every course is also important. There are times when students take a course that is from a different program and they are supposed to apply that learning to the program they are in. In these situations the teacher may not know exactly what the student has been taught regarding the subject at hand or how to teach to a group that knows very little about that specific subject matter. Having students complete SATs for every course allows these teachers to see how they may, or may not have, improved since the following term.
Finally, just as we receive updates on our progress periodically throughout the semester so should those providing our feedback. It is expected that our assignments be returned to us and grades posted relatively quickly so we are constantly aware of where we stand in terms of completing the given course.
Teachers should also be constantly aware of how well they are doing – a majority of the class passing or failing something isn’t always enough.
We, as students, are used to being assessed and critiqued on an almost daily basis; it’s time we were able to help our teachers improve the same way.