Student feedback

Last Tuesday, six of my students finished their courses. At the end of each course, each student needs to complete a Fiche d’Appreciation – an appreciation form (in English – a feedback form).

The form consists of three tables:

Course Insufficient Satisfactory Very good Excellent Without Objection
Rhythm and duration of the course
Group consistency
Satisfaction compared to initial expectation
Communication of the objectives of the course

.

Pedagogy/ organisation Insufficient Satisfactory Very good Excellent Without Objection
Appropriateness of the materials for your professional needs
Appropriateness of the materials for your level
Variety of activities
Availability of the teacher (responding to questions, difficulties, etc.)

.

Subjects Insufficient Satisfactory Very good Excellent Without Objection
Grammar
Professional vocabulary
General vocabulary
Oral expression
Oral comprehension
Reading
Writing

.
The tables are followed by these questions:

  • What did you particularly appreciate during the course?
  • What suggestions could you give to make the course more effective?
  • Have you progressed as you would have liked during this course? And, in which areas?
  • Any additional comments?
  • Have you put the skills you learned to use in your profession? How?

Last week I received four of the six fiches. Anne-François’s was lovely – she ticked ‘very good’ for every category except for rhythm and duration, which was ‘excellent’. The only comments were that she would have preferred not to do the course over the summer, because she missed lessons for holidays. Anne-François was the only one of my three upper-intermediates at class last week, so today I was still waiting for the others to send in their fiches. I wasn’t worried – it had always been my favourite class.

Next I received Sandra’s. It was okay – everything was ‘satisfactory’ with a ‘very good’ for rhythm and duration. She also commented that she appreciated the focus on vocabulary (vocab’s easy to work on – I have a piece of paper for vocabulary in each of my students’ files and write down new words every lesson. At the end of the lessons I quiz them – it’s a great way to use up a spare 5-10 minutes).

Unfortunately, Samya and Florence’s fiches weren’t very complimentary. The Pedagogy/Organisation section was all ‘satisfactory’, but the rest of the fiches alternated between ‘insufficient’ and ‘satisfactory’. Luckily I wasn’t blamed for this – due to each of them having holidays at different times, they both missed about half of their lessons and were not able to progress as much as they would have liked – but it still wasn’t very nice to receive. I decided to hold onto these ones until my meeting with Renée from BTL today, so I would have a chance to defend myself.

Today’s meeting was just titled ‘course feedback’, so I assumed it was a regular meeting that happened with new teachers when their first courses finished. However, when I saw that both Renée and Paul were meeting with me, I started to worry that I might be in trouble. Renée and Paul are BTL’s pedagogical coordinators.

They sat me in one of the classrooms and told me that a fiche had been sent in that had ‘insufficient’ marks on it. I felt myself blush – another one?!

Surprisingly, it was from Olivier. Sweet, quiet, polite Olivier, from my group of upper-intermediates, who always finished his work before the others, and never complained. Who always was the most active in discussions, and understood the listening activities on the first try. I never expected that he would have anything bad to say. Olivier, if you ever read this – you hurt me bad. :p

Paul explained that BTL calls students who have ticked ‘insufficient’ boxes, so they can get an explanation. He then outlined his conversation with Olivier to me:

  1. Olivier had complained about the level of the materials being too low and said that he finished before the others (I admitted this was true, but also said that I had inherited the book from a previous course. “Based on his level, it looks as though this was the right book for him,” Paul said as he flicked through the paperwork).
  2. He complained that we used the book too much.
  3. He said there was insufficient oral comprehension work. (“When I asked him if there was listening every lesson, he said yes,” Paul told me, “but he said that he wanted more.” To this I replied that halfway through the course I’d been asked to do more listening, and I’d started bringing in podcasts from outside the book, and told them about the different podcasts I’d been using, and what seemed to work well.)
  4. He said there was insufficient oral expression (“Again, when I asked him if there was listening every lesson, he said yes,” Paul told me, “but he said that he wanted more.”)

So I’m not really sure what I did wrong . . . luckily Paul and Renée seemed to be on my side.

Paul then took out another piece of paper, and explained that after a new teacher’s first two months, BTL emails some of our longer-term students for an informal review of the course.

(I discovered this last Wednesday when Joelle, one of my Groupama students, showed me an email she had received, looking rather concerned.

“BTL sent me this email,” she said, “and I did not want to respond until I showed it to you.”

I briefly looked at it – it was a short email in French, just asking Joelle for an opinion on the course. I told her that I didn’t know anything about it, and secretly wondered if another student of mine had complained.

“Just tell them that you think I’m wonderful,” I said with a laugh.

“Okay,” she nodded, “I will say that I love you, but I hate this book!” she pointed emphatically at her In Company, Intermediate.

“That’s fine,” I said, “because I didn’t choose it for you.”)

Paul had put the feedback onto one page. Four of my students had responded (Joelle wasn’t one of them), and everything they said was surprisingly lovely.

  • Marie-Maud (advanced student, mid to late 20s) – Jolie’s course corresponds with my needs, and she is perfectly attentive to all of them.
  • Stephane (upper-intermediate student, late 30s/early 40s) – the tone is positive and the pace well prepared, matching my requests. Jolie is a serious and likable teacher.
  • Latifa (elementary to pre-intermediate student, late 20s) – at present, I’m satisfied with Jolie’s English course. The contents of the course correspond with my needs and Jolie is always available to listen to my questions.
  • Bruno (elementary student, 50s?) – I am very satisfied with the manner in which my English course is unfolding. Jolie has proven that she has a lot of teaching skills. She has adapted her course to support my situation, my level and my needs. She reformulates her speech in different manners as many times as is necessary for me to understand, and is very patient and calm. She follows a process that responds to my speaking and listening needs, and brings exercises to fill my grammatical gaps. So, at this stage, I am very satisfied.

I left the meeting with a big smile, feeling honoured to have these people as my students.

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