Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Feedback on Teaching

Many sources of feedback are available to instructors to inform their teaching, including: self-reflection, students’ mid-semester feedback, peer review of teaching, and end-of-term evaluations. Instructors should feel empowered to determine what methods fit the needs and context of their situation and to try out different approaches over time. Before collecting feedback, instructors should consider the purpose of the feedback such as determining whether a particular strategy is working, checking in on the effectiveness of a particular discussion, or understanding if changes in the direction of a course is warranted. After determining the purpose of collecting feedback, instructors should consider what type(s) of feedback to collect and the timing for doing so. The Poorvu Center is available to support instructors as they gather feedback on their teaching via individual consultations, facilitation of small-group feedback sessions with students, or classroom observations.

Reflective Teaching invites instructors to examine their pedagogy, articulate reasons and strengths for their strategies, and identify areas for improvement. The process explores underlying beliefs about teaching and classroom practice through a variety of approaches, including discussions with colleagues, inventories, observations, and self-assessments.
Collecting mid-semester feedback from students enables instructors to consider teaching adjustments specific to the particular needs of current class(es). Comments from students provide opportunities for instructors to clarify confusion and justify pedagogical choices. Feedback also invites students to reflect on their learning experiences and reminds students of course goals and values. The act of collecting feedback demonstrates that an instructor values student voice and experience.
Peer review of teaching offers a powerful opportunity for colleagues to observe one another's teaching strategies and, where appropriate, to discuss ways to better align those practices with disciplinary and departmental goals. Unlike student or outside evaluation, peer review involves co-practitioners exploring their shared trade.
A variety of published tools can assist instructors when assessing their teaching practices. Many such tools, including classroom observation protocols and teaching inventories, have been utilized in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses and are easily adaptable to other disciplines.
In a small group feedback session (SGFS), a trained observer visits class and conducts a group discussion alone with students during the last 15-20 minutes of class. The observer then discusses the student feedback with the instructor.
In Yale College and GSAS courses with an enrollment of five or more, students participate in online end-of-term course evaluations. These anonymous teaching evaluations are managed through the Online Course Evaluations (OCE) system. Every course evaluation includes standardized questions, but instructors can add their own custom questions.