Perfect Ten

Picture this...At the end of your classroom performances there is a panel of judges holding up score cards. What numbers are you hoping to see on them? Fives? Sevens? Tens? Keep this in mind as you read the rest of this post.

We all want to be good teachers, and not just good, we want to have a high student appeal rating. Because of this, some teachers may have asked themselves, "what makes a good teacher?"

Quality teaching can be defined as presenting activities which bring about the most productive and beneficial learning experience for students and promotes their development as learners. But how do we know what activities are the most productive and beneficial unless we ask.Without feedback provided by students it is hard to know how to develop tasks and exercises that will engage students, foster autonomy, and help students see themselves as collaborators in the classroom.

Shor (1992) quoted in Brookfield's The Skillful Teacher, argues "the first responsibility of critical teachers is to research what students know, speak, experience, and feel as starting points from which an empowering curriculum is developed" (p. 36).

Five popular classroom feedback techniques mentioned by Brookfield (pgs. 37-45) are:
  1. The One-Minute Paper
  2. The Muddiest Point
  3. The Learning Audit
  4. The Critical Incident Questionnaire (CIQ)
  5. Student Learning Journal
Here is a guide of teaching assessment and evaluation types published by York University (SCOTL), which includes those mentioned above. The guide provides instructors with starting-points for reflecting on their teaching, and with advice on how to gather feedback on their teaching practices and effectiveness as part of teacher reflection and development.

When implementing a system of feedback, we should be cautious of our unreasonable desire to want to collect feedback that contains no negative comments or flood of complaints, also known as "the perfect-ten" syndrome (Brookfield, 2006, p. 53) On the score cards we pictured at the beginning of this post, it is reasonable to expect something less than a ten so we always have something to strive for.


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