It’s hard to believe—we are already approaching the half-way point of fall semester. Most of us have taken our first exam(s) and have had plenty of time to evaluate our professors’ teaching styles and the classroom’s conduciveness to learning. Maybe the instructor is going too fast or too slow. Maybe a foundational concept was poorly explained at the beginning of the semester and you’ve been lost ever since. Maybe you can’t focus due to construction work just outside your classroom. Regardless of the situation, many students feel they have to wait (sometimes suffer) until the end-of-semester evaluations before they can anonymously tell instructors how they feel. Wouldn’t it make more sense to give the instructor some feedback before the end of the semester…while the instructor still has time to respond and potentially accommodate requests? Furthermore, since every classroom dynamic is different, it may not make sense for the instructor to tweak his/her pace or teaching style based on student comments from a year ago. For example, let’s say in the 2014 class, there were two or three “question askers” who encouraged the instructor to clarify complex concepts. However, in 2015, the class was moved from 11:00 am to 8:00 am, and now, few students are speaking up even if they are a little confused. Unfortunately, as a result of the positive reviews from 2014, the instructor may not understand why the 2015 class is struggling. Or, he/she may be blindsided by the poor evaluations at the end of the semester. This isn’t fair to the students or the instructor.
How do you feel about mid-term instructor-evaluations? What are some ways to enforce student participation in these evaluations? Should the teacher adjust his/her educative methods based on the current classroom dynamic, or should students learn to adapt to the teacher’s pedagogics?