Sunday, 1 April 2012

50 Ways to Get High Evaluations From Your Students

Updated 5 February 2014

Special thanks go to Sherri at ELT World for her help with this article.

Many evaluations aren't written very well, so they're not very accurate. However, that doesn't stop management from using them. Unfortunately student evaluations count for a lot on the job and may even decide whether or not you get re-hired.

Here are some suggestions on how to get better student evaluations, some are great and some are odd. You'll see that some of the advice conflicts. However, all of these are suggestions I've heard from other teachers over the years. 

The basics
  1. Dress nicely when you go to class.
  2. Start class on time.
  3. Give students a five minute break.
  4. End on time or even a couple minutes early.
  5. Return homework promptly.
  6. Learn their names and use them.
  7. Give students your email so they can contact you.
  8. Always be prepared for your class. 
  9. Don't take attendance.
  10. Teach upperclassmen; they usually give higher evals than freshmen.  
  11. Ask your students for high evals. They have no problem grovelling for their grades
  12. Smile!
 
Expectations
  1. Have students write down their goals and review them often. 
  2. Write the class aims and objectives on the board every class.
  3. Give an end of the semester speech on how they're the best students that you've ever had.
  4. Treat all students fairly.
  5. Give students a clear idea of what you expect at the beginning of the semester and don't change it. 
  6. Give clear instructions. 
  7. Make sure that the students always know the purpose of the activity and how it meets your aims.
  8. Praise students when they do something well and explain why.
  9. Lower your expectations and do "I say, you repeat" activities.  
  10. Give students feedback and help them understand how to improve.
  11. Coddle them: let them know exactly what's on tests, quizzes, remind them about homework, etc.

Class activities
  1. Motivate them with food or candy.
  2. Don't play too many games.
  3. Do daily silent reading or journaling. 
  4. Hold class outside
  5. Have students tell each other what they've learnt at the end of class. 
  6. Play a couple of games every once in a while.
  7. Have a movie day.
  8. Have a debate or discussion day.
  9. Don't do role-plays.
  10. Ask students for feedback about your lessons
  11. Make small talk during the lesson so that you show interest in their lives.
  12. Let students use their phones in class.  
  13. Give students choices about what activities they can do.

Grading
  1. Don't tell students their grades before they give you their evaluations.
  2. Offer extra credit points.
  3. Give long, hard exams.
  4. Have students choose their partners for speaking exams. 
  5. Don't take points off for the nitty gritty stuff.
  6. Be strict so that they'll be grateful when they don't get a C.  
  7. Grade fairly
  8. Have students make the questions for the exams and quizzes.
  9. Grade on a curve.
  10. Be transparent with your grading and allow students to see their grade. 
  11. Don't tell students their grades before they give you their evaluations.

Outside of class
  1. Be available and hold regular office hours. 
  2. Don't give too much homework.
  3. Don't give any homework.

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