Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Feedback on Teaching

There are many sources of feedback that instructors can use to inform their teaching, including self-assessments, peer observations, and student evaluations. Instructors should feel confident about determining what methods fit the needs and limits of their situation, or, trying out different protocols over the course of several semesters.

Reflective Teaching is a process for instructors to examine their pedagogy, articulate reasons and strengths for their strategies, and identify areas for improvement. It examines underlying beliefs about teaching and actual classroom practice through a variety of approaches, including inventories, observation protocols, and self-assessments.
In a midterm course evaluation (MCE), a CTL staff member observes most of a class session, and then discusses the class alone with students. MCE allow instructors to improve their courses midstream, and make teaching adjustments specific to the particular needs and desires of current students.
In all Yale College courses with an enrollment of five or more, undergraduates participate in online end-of-term course evaluations. These anonymous teaching evaluations are managed through the Online Course Evaluations (OCE) system.
A variety of published tools can assist instructors when assessing their teaching practices. Many such tools, including classroom observation protocols and teaching inventories, have been utilized in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses, but are easily adaptable to other disciplines.
Peer review of teaching provides a powerful opportunity for colleagues to observe one another's pedagogical practices and, where appropriate, to discuss ways to better align those practices with disciplinary and departmental goals. Unlike student or outside evaluation, peer evaluation involves co-practitioners exploring their shared trade. As such, patience and generosity of spirit are crucial as peers explore strategies that may diverge from one another.
In a small group feedback session (SGFS), a trained observer visits class and conducts a group discussion alone with students during the last twenty minutes. The observer then produces a confidential report and discusses it with the instructor.