Tuesday, 13 December 2011

We value your feedback III

Today was the final session of my MA module in Intercultural Communication, and I was curious and slightly apprehensive about the coming feedback. Would I finally be exposed as a fraud?


I have never taught 'intercultural communication' before, and for the past twelve weeks have been hoping that my newness to the field did not show. Today on their feedback forms, thirteen out of fourteen students declared themselves satisfied:

It was very interesting.
Teacher is very kind and with humour.

It was very my favourite course!
Teacher used personal experience to show cultural difference - very practical.
Everything was perfect.
He is very nice man.

Well, absolutely. I entirely concur. The purpose of feedback for me is largely to confirm yet again that the state of paranoia I work myself into about teaching (and so much else) is not a reaction to any external, observable fact, but wholly endogenous. Along with the encomia were some sensible suggestions for improvement, with reasonable acknowledgement that the course was short and timing tight. Of course, it isn't the thirteen satisfied punters that now occupy my thoughts, but the one malcontent.

What do you think were the strengths and weaknesses of the course?

1) Easy to understand. 2) No communication / no teamwork

Do you have any suggestions for improvement?

Put interesting stuff.

The form is unsigned but I would lay odds it is the work of the only male on the course, Kong. (Not his real name. I chose it because it means 'empty'.) He spent most of the time looking pissed off or passing what I took to be snide remarks to his girlfriend. Anyway, no point second-guessing an unsigned feedback form. Forget it. One moaner, everyone else happy. Doesn't matter.

End of.

...yet give me leave to wonder, Kong (?), how a course centred on discussion, problem-solving and roleplay lacked 'communication' or 'teamwork', and why, if it was not interesting, you didn't make suggestions for spicing it up, or get the fuck out and do something else. Why, if it is communication and teamwork you value so much, did you remain dourly silent for twelve weeks? Fuck's sake, the 'no communication or teamwork' bit bugs me: it's almost as if you attended somebody else's course and got the feedback mixed up, although having distributed the forms and waited while they were completed, I know that it's my efforts you are disparaging. I mean, if you said you didn't like discussion and problem-solving, fair enough, but...

...aw, fuck it. There's always one.

After the feedback forms had been collected, I said I would be available for tutorials on the assignment, but there were no takers, and everyone except Kong and his moll left in high spirits. I sat and looked at the outline for the next module, 'Intercultural Business Communication', God bless and save us. I suspect that the coming thin years will see me delivering modules by the seat of my pants in a wide range of disciplines - Renal Dialysis Unit Management, 17th Century Dutch Thimbles, Intermediate Akkadian, Papuan Necromancy. The paranoia is unlikely to abate.

Actually, come to think of it, Papuan Necromancy would be a hell of a lot more interesting than intercultural sodding business communication. I might suggest it.


Bo said...

I know someone who actually DID intermediate Akkadian!

Vilges Suola said...

Me too, but definitely somewhere more rigorous in its approach than our place.

Alan Tait said...

And I knew someone who had been cursed by a Papua witch doctor/tribal elder.

(He wasn't sure which - didn't hang around to get the guy's business card)

Vilges Suola said...

It still sounds a lot more exciting than a straightforward business meeting. 'Good afternoon, I'm Swando, I'm a shaman, and I bring to the table some shin bones, assorted poisonous herbs, powerful malignity, and you are fuckin TOAST,my old beauty.'

Anonymous said...

It's called The Fred Astaire Syndrome......I mean, your/our dogged inability to let go of the ONE LOUSY comment from a cretin.... You HAVE to trust the others - this is what I keep telling myself. As long as we have them, it'll be okay; as long as most were satisfied, please let me be able to walk away.
You're good, trust me....

Vilges Suola said...

Yes, I think I read about the syndrome on your blog. Teaching makes paranoiacs of us all.

Albion Moonlight said...

I'd take Papuan Necromancy from you.

Vilges Suola said...

OK. You have to wear a penis-gourd.


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