Receiving Feedback on Your Teaching

The Center promotes an inquiry-based approach to teaching. To this end, we offer several methods to help graduate students receive feedback on their teaching.

Small Group Analysis. Getting feedback from your students can help you identify aspects of your teaching to adjust or maintain. Small group analysis (a student-based focus group) gathers early and extensive feedback from your students. We recommend using this feedback mechanism in the third or fourth week of the semester to allow time to respond to what you learn. At a mutually convenient time, a CATLR consultant will come to your class for approximately 20 minutes. The consultant will break the class into small groups and ask a few key questions to assess aspects of the course that students view as benefiting their learning and other aspects that might make it difficult to learn. Students discuss and record their responses in small groups and then report out to the full class. This procedure enables the consultant to both gather individual student feedback and moderate discrepancies. Your consultant will synthesize the feedback and discuss it with you afterward.

Teaching Observation. A teaching assistant or course instructor may want general feedback on his/her teaching or may want feedback on more specific aspects, such as a new approach or activity. CATLR consultants are trained to observe a number of dynamics in the classroom environment that a teaching assistant or instructor may not be able to fully observe. At a mutually convenient time, a CATLR consultant will visit your class, recitation, lab, studio, or guest lecture and share his/her observations with you afterward.

Video-recorded Observation. A video-recording of your teaching can be extremely beneficial and provide insights into your teaching from a student’s viewpoint. A CATLR consultant can record a class session and provide the recording to you for private viewing. A consultant can also review the recording with you. In either case, the recording becomes your personal property and you maintain complete control over it.

Student Evaluation Analysis. It can be difficult to interpret the quantitative and qualitative feedback from TRACE evaluations as well as from more informal feedback surveys. A CATLR consultant can meet with you to objectively review student feedback and identify patterns in responses that can provide constructive input for your future teaching.

To request a small group analysis, observation, or student evaluation analysis, please contact the Center by email at or by phone at 617-373-3157.