Reflection and feedback are reserved for the end of the semester, right? No.
In order to get genuine, high quality feedback, you need to divide your school year into time frames that are smaller than the regular 4 or 9 months. Ideally, you should enable your international students to give you instant feedback.
Here are just a few good reasons why you should schedule feedback sessions in the middle of the semester:
Middle of the semester marks the end of honeymoon
The excitement everyone feels at the beginning of the school year starts to fade as students get into a routine. And once everyone settles in, annoying details start to show. Maybe a student is upset with a lecturer? They feel confusion or loneliness? They have difficulties handling their workload? Any of these reasons could have impact on international student retention, and it’s best to hear about them before it’s too late.
Less coursework – more time to reflect
Proper reflection goes to a second place on a priority list, especially at that time of the year when students are thinking about how to write 4 essays in one night. Middle of the semester usually has a more relaxed schedule: most deadlines loom somewhere in the future. Having a couple of reflective sessions in a less intense time like this will go a long way.
Distraction free (-ish)
End of semester marks various events that can occupy students’ minds: be it planning summer vacations, Christmas celebrations or spring breaks. It is hard to think about the past when your head is already in the future. Setting up mid-term feedback sessions provides much better quality of feedback.
Flexibility to improve right away
Most of the time, students’ suggestions for improvements can be implemented instantly. There is no need to wait 5 months in order to consult a student on time management techniques, help them choose a club or set up a discussion with a tutor. The worst problems are those that are left brewing for a long time. Make sure you can fix issues on the go and build trust continuously throughout the school year.
Beneficial both for international students and the university
Universities can only benefit from getting feedback early for two simple reasons. First, it puts them in a position to have better quality control. Second, it gives them more flexibility to solve issues. Students, on the other hand, should also be interested to participate in reflection sessions so they could better understand their own goals, career path desires and their options. In order to get quality mid-term feedback, make sure that students see their own benefits of it, too.
Do you feel like mid-semester reflection time is necessary? Do you implement it on your campus?
What kind of methods for gaining feedback do you use?
Let us know in the comments!