3.6 Getting feedback on your teaching

 

Section 7| describes the formal monitoring and evaluation mechanisms operated at LSE to assure the quality of education the School provides. This brief section focuses on what you can do to check how things are going for yourself.

At various points in the year, you will want to assess how well you and your students are doing. Here are some suggestions to help you evaluate your classroom teaching:

Reviewing your students' progress

  • As noted in Questioning skills under Section 3.3, ask questions designed to monitor student understanding. This is a way to informally assess student progress.
  • Watch for students' reactions to your discussion section. Take notice of body language and eye contact.
  • Consider using short quizzes designed to monitor students' understanding of the previous week's material. (Some of the large quantitative courses now have this built in, using computerised self-assessment tests in Moodle). Discipline-specific teaching and learning support, particularly in quantitative subjects, can by found by visiting the Higher Education Academy Subject Support website (www.heaacademy.ac.uk/subjectcentres).
  • Try out an 'instant questionnaire'. This is a simple technique of asking three or four 'indicative' questions or statements about a particular session, and getting an instant response to them from the students (usually anonymously, on scraps of paper, done at the end of a session). Statements might take the form of 'I now feel confident to tackle problems about x', 'Today's class was too fast for me', 'I really feel I need more help on understanding theory y', etc.
  • Most courses require students to hand in two essays each term. Several of the quantitative courses expect students to complete problem sets each week, but may only require two of those to be handed in to you for marking. In this case, it is still worth getting a clear feel for which students are doing the work each week (eg by looking to see who takes out notes, as opposed to blank paper, at the start of the session). Don't expect 100 per cent every week, but watch out for students who only seem to have done it when it is hand-in time, and if more than half are failing to do class work on a regular basis, you need to take action (see Section 4.4 on writing class reports).

Reviewing your teaching

  • Ask students how things are going when they come to see you in office hours, and if they have any suggestions for how the class can be improved.
  • A few weeks into term, ask students to jot down answers to the following: What would you like me to stop doing/continue doing/start doing? (Think of variations on this theme, for example, asking them to comment similarly on what they'd like from their fellow students in the class.) Use this also as an opportunity to check on the effectiveness of measures you've agreed with the students to promote equality and inclusivity.
  • Using peer observation of teaching sessions can also greatly benefit the reflective class teacher. It can be very useful to agree to observe and be observed by another class teacher reciprocally to help develop teaching skills.

 

I asked if I could sit in on one of the experienced class teacher's classes before I met my own group, just to see how he did it. I really liked his approach but I knew I wouldn't have the confidence to mimic him - still, it gave me an idea of how to break up the time and how to avoid doing all the talking.

 

  • Invite the teacher responsible for the course or a member of the Teaching and Learning Centre to observe your teaching and arrange a feedback session afterwards.
  • You may wish to videotape your classes or use the Echo capture system available in some classrooms to review your own approach. (You would need to consult with your students about this and probably explain that it is for your benefit and therefore ultimately for their benefit!) Contact the Teaching and Learning Centre at tlc@lse.ac.uk  if you would like to give this a try.

 

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