Feedback and reflection

A tiny bit later than planned, I still wanted to write a blogpost about the class I gave on December 3th. I will spare you my excuses (since that is what they are) of why I haven’t been able to put up this post sooner.

The question I’m asking myself right now is: Do feedback and reflection go hand in hand? Feedback, where others give compliments and pointers of what you could work on. Reflection being a moment where you take your time to analyze a situation of choice. The one being the opinion of someone else and the other being your own insights.

I believe they go together pretty well. It can be a challenge getting feedback from someone who doesn’t really know what the reasons is behind some of the things you do. Or getting defensive when they tell you what you could improve. Or someone criticising you. But not me, I love getting feedback. There are two sides of getting feedback, what you did well and what you could improve. I’m that weird person who likes to hear what I can do better. I mean the compliments are nice and all, but what can I do differently to improve myself and what I do.

I asked one of the teachers, who is highly involved in the minor Entrepreneurship, to be present at one of my classes. First and foremost I wanted him to see how my classes are and how different they are from the traditional way of teaching. But more importantly I wanted him to be critical on the way I teach and what I could improve in all my classes to come. Let’s get it clear I’m not a teacher, I like to see myself as a facilitator. While teachers answer most questions students have, I don’t (usually) answer their questions. I ask them questions in return, so they can analyse and think about different aspects of their own question, so they can answer it or at least think about the question. So I’m sure I could learn a lot from someone who has being doing this for many many years. Now back to the feedback, everyone always starts with the positive things you did. That day I caught myself not writing down those positive things , just the pointers I could improve. As I said it’s nice to hear what I’m doing well, but I love to hear what I can improve. Also, I get awkward when people give me compliments. People can be great class you gave there and I'm like Happy Birthday Santa Claus. When I realised I wasn’t writing down the positive things, I tried to remember all those things and write them down anyways.

Back to the things I could improve. There was one main thing that I should focus on even more in my classes and that is making a better connection. A connection between the assignments and f.e the the students, the students as entrepreneurs, the final assignment, their company and their business ideas. I know I do it sometimes specifically when I explain the assignment before they start executing it or when they're done with the assignment, I always try to summarise it at the end. But what was missing was putting this connection during the assignments, which makes it easier for students to understand what the goal is and where it can be used for. Also using real life examples of situations as a reason where these assignments can be used in. Lets take reflecting for a second, you can do this in your personal life but also as an entrepreneur. As a starter chances are that you’ll probably be working by yourself most of the time, there might not be someone else telling you what you did right or what you could improve. So, if you reflect on situations by using a reflecting method that works for you, you can become aware of the things you do. Sometimes you’re not even aware of some of the things you do until you really take the time to reflect.

I always tell my students: at the end of the day these are simply some tools that can be used, but it’s up to you if and how you will use them. For some they work and for others they don’t.

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