Something happened to me recently which I had not come across in my longish career up till now. My students were asked to evaluate my teaching - anoymous for them, but not for me !To be quite honest, I found it all rather nerve-racking and it set me thinking about the possible repercussions.
At present I am working for a small language school which offers in-house training in Business English to local firms who are global players. The students in my current group of 10 white-collar workers were sent a questionnaire on which they were asked to assess the course. They could give marks from 7 (very good) to 1 (very poor) to things like methodology and didactics, assessments and homework, the practical usefulness of what they learnt, the quality of the materials etc., etc. My language school collated the marks into a table and passed this on to the Human Resources department of the company concerned. So the company could tell how worthwhile its investment in English training was (at least in theory). And of course I was eventually told how I had fared in comparison with the teachers of other courses.
Well,obviously just because I am a Native Speaker doesn't mean that I am a perfect teacher, and I was certainly not expecting to get a row of top marks, but I did find some of the marks and comments a bit surprising. And so I began to wonder how objective this sort of evaluation is. Are the students in a position to assess how well-prepared I am, for example? Or can they really evaluate my didactics and methodology? Was I (for example) not able to explain something properly or was the student perhaps just not concentrating enough?
What sort of points should the students definitely be asked to comment on?
What effects could this sort of thing have on the motivation of a keen teacher who didn't do so well? We all keep going on about how to motivate the students to learn English. How about considering the best way to motivate US (apart from giving us a pay rise!) to "go the extra mile", for a change?
If I were ever lucky enough to be chosen "Guest Teacher" of this site or allowed to contribute to a Forum topic, this whole question would be one of my priorities. But perhaps meanwhile I will get a feedback to this blog entry.