Teaching Tip Tuesdays: One Minute Feedback

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One of my favorite pedagogical tools is what I call one minute feedbacks. I shamelessly stole this tool from Lieutenant Colonel John Church, whose pedagogy I deeply admire. Through our Writing Center, I taught grammar/formatting lessons for his honors composition class as a junior and senior in college. He printed them on yellow paper (known as “yellow canaries”) and told his students to “make ‘em sing!”

I pass out these half-sheets at the conclusion of each class–sometimes before then if I’m nervous I’ll get caught up in teaching and forget! I make it clear that I want them to give me their honest comments, concerns, and criticisms, so I ask four simple questions:

            The main point of today’s class was:

            What interested me most today is:

            What I do not understand (or with what I do not agree) is:

            Anything else?

I also give them the option for anonymous feedback. Sometimes they put their names, sometimes they don’t. With this little piece of paper, I can confirm that they understood the day’s material, and I can gauge what other pedagogical tools helped them get there. It also provides students with the opportunity to ask questions they might not feel comfortable asking in class. Ultimately, it’s yet another way for them to engage with the class.

I consider the one minute feedback an exit ticket from class that day. After completing the sheet, students place them face-down on the table in front of the classroom on their way out. I go through their responses after class and set aside ones that ring any alarms–usually an important question or a clarification for the reading. Then, I follow up with the entire class via email responding to these comments. This method of feedback allows me to address concerns much more immediately so I can adapt my next lesson to the students’ needs. I like to think that this encourages the students to feel as if they have more of a stake in the class as well.

What’s also nice is that students will often wish me a great day, thank me for a fun class, or offer a joke: one of my students still doesn’t understand why we park on driveways and drive on parkways, but answering that probably goes above my pay-grade.

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