Feedback on the Feedback

In the graduate level career development course I am co-teaching we provided feedback on the students’ counseling sessions.  Some feedback was provided individually (when requested), face-to-face in a group format, online (via Elluminate) in a group format, and online via discussion board posts.  I wanted to know two things: 1) which format was preferred; and 2) what specific feedback they received that was most helpful.  Rather than just call on people, we had a bag of lollipops, each with a student name attached.  A student selected a lollipop out of the bag, then read the student’s name that was attached.  Then, that student shared their feedback.  When they were done, that student then selected another lollipop, and so on.  In addition to making sure each student shared feedback, we were also able to take attendance (the lollipops still in the bag were the absent students), and finish learning student names (with a student calling the name, it didn’t look like we were searching for the student ourselves).

Results: The activity went very well, and the students were engaged and interested.  One student didn’t want to take a lollipop, which threw me off for a moment because I wasn’t expecting that.  So instead I just had her pick one, read the name, and give it back.  The students seemed very comfortable because they shared feedback that made them seem more vulnerable, personal feedback about a bad habit they had, ie. a nervous stutter, as opposed to more general feedback such as “I got new ideas about which instruments to use.”  We praised the students for taking risks, and explained to them that these were all areas for improvement, rather than an indication that they were terrible career counselors.

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