Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Importance of spontaneous feedback

I was just thinking about how important it is to get and give spontaneous feedback - on every level! When I say to my five year old daughter "Hey, Ally, you wrote that word so well this morning - that was great" and she then shines! On the other hand, when I say "Maybe you should try it like this" she doesn't always look happy, but she does and then she "gets over it" and our conversation resumes - no one was hurt and she learned something and I learn each time how to formulate feedback into something constructive but hopefully not too critical.
So what made me think of the role of feedback was last week - after one course a student said "Actually, I find the topic really interesting, but I wasn't sure of the timing". And throughout that entire course, I was thinking about whether the others found it interesting or not. So her feedback was constructive - I knew we could more or less go on how were were with the main concept but we'd have to watch our timing a bit. And the second feedback somebody said that she really had a very good day despite having to come in on a Saturday.
So it can't be that at the end of every course, you get feedback from every person, however, if we would more open our mouths and let people know how we feel, then a lot of time would be saved in futile endeavours and in misunderstandings. And this feedback on a social level, on an interpersonal level, is just as important, if not more, as feedback at the end of a project or a course! And people shouldn't be afraid to give feedback though it is always an exercise in being diplomatic!

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