What we believe we are isn’t always what others think we are. Do we all live in an illusion of the reality? Unfortunately, I don´t think I have the capacity to go further into this question. I do know that it is important to listen to others and I do think it is important to actively work with improvement.
Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about feedback . I am not finished with that thought so I will try to write something more about the topic. It´s not always nice to get feedback from others, thus sometimes it hurts and sometimes its a joy. When teaching and learning, feedback can be given on different levels both for students and teachers. These six different feedback options is what I´ve come up with.
- 1. From the teacher – That’s ought to be me
- 2. From a peer – A fellow partner in crime
- 3. From themselves – It is important to practice and to put improvement into words
To me as a teacher
- 4. From the students – The students experience are always interesting
- 5. From a colleague – I would love to have a critical friend
- 6. From myself – It is hard to be objective but important to strive for improvement
Feedback can be like a flower bouquet. Some are beautiful and some in colors we don´t prefer. All different comments are useful, however feedback is not a monologue. It´s occurs through interaction and dialogue so it is important to have a strategy for it. Multiple sources for feedback is always a good thing given the different perspective (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).
When teaching nursing students how to administer and handle central venous catheters in a way that is patientsafe I will use these six different feedback options. Here´s how I plan to do it.
- I move around and meanwhile the students are training practical skill procedures, in our clinical training center, I give them individual feedback, both direct on their performance and e.g. questioning why they chose to do some tasks in a specific order. I will try to balance the negative comments carefully with the positive once (Ramsden, 2003) and tailor them into their needs (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).
- Feedback given from a peer is sometimes more valuable then from the teacher (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). So I will ask them to observe, by using a checklist on the correct steps in the procedure they are training, ready to give feedback when finished.
- In long-term the goal and purpose of feedback is to foster the student to manage to given themselves feedback in the future. The students ability to evaluate their own performance is a key to life-long learning (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). According to, the Swedish Bachelor Programme in Nursing a nursing student are supposed to evaluate their ability to identify their need of further knowledge and continuously develop their skills (Högskoleförordningen, 1993). Before leaving the training I will ask them to write down on a paper what they think went well and what they think they need to know more about. As an offer they can put the paper in a box, like a letter to themselves and the future.
- I can have my feedback from two different sources, the students evaluation and the result of the assessment. (Ramsden, 2003). Don´t want to live in an illusion! I will ask the students to evaluate the training after their participation. As a new teacher it is extremely important for me to know if I succeeded to motivate them and if the students believes that they have learn about how to administer and handle central venous catheters in a way that is patientsafe. I will use Google docs for that purpose.
- In the world of academics we are used to give constructive criticism to each other aiming to improve research. Having a critical friend is kind of the same thing. A skilled colleague how gives you constructive criticism with the aim to improve your teaching (Handal, 1997; Lauvås et al., 1997). If you can´t find a personal critical friend, a collegian learning communities can be a good thing. Exploring and learning together meanwhile given each other feedback can enhance your own learning (Stuck et al., 2013).
- Self-knowledge is absolutely a good thing for a teacher. After I´ve had my classes in the training center I will give myself time to think it over and reflect on how to improve. I am very well aware of that feedback and reflection isn´t the same thing and in the future I will try to learn more about the topic and how to enhance students learning using reflection.
When I started to write this blog post I thought that feedback is feedback…is feedback and there is nothing more the feedback. It is extremely frustrating to realize , now, hours later, that each bullet point on my list could generate a whole assignment. Undoubtedly I will write about feedback again, but this will do for now.
Handal G, (1999) Consultation Using Critical Friends. New directions for teaching and learning, Issue 79.
Högskoleförordningen (1993:100) Sjuksköterskeexamen – Bachelor Programme in Nursing. (In Swedish)
Lauvås P, Hofgaard Lycke K, Handal G, (1997) Kollega-handledning i skolan. Studentlitteratur, Lund. (In Swedish)
Ramsden, P (2003) Learning to teach in higher education. 2nd edition. RoutledgeFalmer, London & New York.
Stuck S, Aubussona P, Kearneya M, Burdenb K, (2013) Mobilising teacher education: a study of a professional learning community. Teacher Development, Vol. 17, No. 1, 1–18.
Svinicki M, McKeachie WJ (2014) McKeachie´s teaching tips. Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. 14th edition. Wadsworth.
Photo: Illusion by Mark Heath (CC BY-NC 2.0)