Get Liked


A decade or so ago the expression “I have liked…” would have sounded a bit weird. But thanks to Facebook we are now ‘liking’ all the time: giving our evaluations and opinions about what others do. There is even market value in doing that. No matter what we really think or understand about the issue “liking” has become a true democratic tool that allows everyone to express a verdict. No matter the variety, depth and multi-perspectivity of your opinion you “like’ by one token only, all included. You can ‘like’: music, sites, books, persons, institutions…; even teachers?
Student evaluations of their instruction and teaching experiences are liked by many: principals, district or state school officers, parents, and to some degree even by students who have to fill in forms almost after any course they take (1) . Admitted: these forms are a bit more sophisticated in the degree of their likings than thumbs up or down- they use Likert scales instead (what’ s in a name). Now, if you want to be liked (do teachers want to be liked or….?) at least you would want the evaluation to be fair and transparent. But what is more important (certainly in performing professions) you like to have feedback. Not appraising judgments but assessments for learning.
The cited study gauged student evaluations of their teaching experiences using the format of: stop, start, continue (i.e., what a teacher should avoid, improve, and keep on using). It turned out that this review method was more liked by students (than giving a written reflective evaluation) and on top of that led to greater depth of feedback (more meaningful comments to the teacher).

What about this feedback? It is provided to the teacher but there it halts. Feedback, according to Assessment for Learning theorists (2) , must be processed in order to have effect. It is just like instruction itself. Something must be done with it. Now, most evaluation and review methods fall short of instructional value. Nevertheless, they could provide a wonderful opportunity to achieve precisely that. In this case, for instance, by having a post instruction meeting of teacher and students to review what went well or remained difficult to grasp in the teaching just experienced. Such a post lesson conversation would contribute to learning of students and of teachers. Strange that we hardly do it. Certainly a waste of feedback information .

Alice Hoon, Emily Oliver, Kasia Szpakowska & Philip Newton (2015). Use of the ‘Stop, Start, Continue’ method is associated with the production of constructive qualitativefeedback by students in higher education, In: Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 40:5,755-767, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2014.956282
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