Andrew Gillen (Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering)
Providing feedback on open-ended work in the engineering classroom has always been challenging, and even more so as we transitioned to online education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this presentation, I will present a method I use for engaging students in an empowering and participatory feedback process that situates the learner to be in control. This approach, called the Critical Response Process, comes from dance choreographer Liz Lerman. Both the full method and smaller aspects of the techniques can be implemented to improve the way we give feedback and engage students, whether that be in a solely online, blended, or face-to-face format.
2 Replies to “What the performing arts can teach us about giving feedback in the engineering classroom”
Thanks for this. Have you any reflections on how long students, particularly in STEM, take to acclimatise to this?
Thanks for your question – It definitely takes some time for students in STEM to get used to a method like this, particularly because it is so different than the way we typically situate students in the feedback process. If you want to use the full method, I think it can help if instructors practice with students, potentially even using something from their own work as an example such as a figure from an academic paper in a draft stage. During the practice, students can ask questions and the instructor can have a meta-level discussion about the process itself while doing it (e.g. pausing to say “that’s not quite a neutral question, try this…” or “as the student, I could say I’m not ready to receive feedback on that aspect at this moment”) and really model how to engage in this process. I think this also relates to the classroom environment that you foster during your other learning activities. I think if we take the time to make it a positive environment in other ways, it becomes easier to integrate this process.