Continue. Stop. Start.

Quick feedback tool for your teaching, giving you concrete examples of what students would like you to continue, start or stop

This is another great tool to get feedback on your classes. In contrast to the “fun” vs “learning” graph which gives you a cloud of “generally people seem to be happy and to have learned something”, this tool gives you much more concrete ideas of what you should continue, stop and start doing. Basically what you do is this: You hand out sheets of paper with the three columns and ask students to give you as many details as possible for each.

“Continue” is where students list everything that you do during your lectures that helps them learn and understand and that they think you should continue doing. Here students (of classes I teach! Obviously all these examples are highly dependent on the course) typically list things like that you are giving good presentations, ask whether they have questions, are available for questions outside of the lecture, are approachable, do fun experiments, let them discuss in class, that kind of thing.

“Stop” are things that hinder students learning (or sometimes things that they find annoying, like homework or being asked to present something in class, but usually students are pretty good about realizing that, even though annoying, those things might actually be helpful). Here students might list if you have an annoying habit, or if you always say things like “as everybody knows, …” when they don’t actually know but are now too shy to say so. Students will also give you feedback on techniques that you like using but they don’t think are appropriate for their level/group, or anything else they think is counterproductive.

“Start” are suggestions what you might want to add to your repertoire. I have recently been asked to give a quick overview over next lesson’s topics at the end of the lecture which makes perfect sense! But again, depending what you do in your course already you might be asked to start very different things.

In addition to help you teach better, this feedback is also really important for students, because it makes them reflect about how they learn as an individual and how their learning might be improved. And if they realize that they aren’t getting what they need from the instructor, at least they know now what they need and can go find it somewhere else if the instructor doesn’t change his/her teaching to meet that need.

When designing the questionnaire for this, you could also make very broad suggestions of topics that might be mentioned if you feel like that might spark students’ ideas (like for example, presentations, textbooks, assignments, activities, social interactions, methods, discussions, quizzes, …) but be aware that giving these examples means that you are more likely to get feedback on the suggested topics and less likely that students will bring up topics that you yourself had not considered.

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