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How My ESL Intermediate/Beginner Students Evaluated Our Class & Me This Semester


This is the second in a series of recapping student evaluations of my classes this past semester. You can find all these reviews and more at My Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

This post covers my double-period English class of Intermediate and Beginner ELL’s. Here’s a copy of the anonymous evaluation form I used.

Most of the activities we did, and my own qualities as a teacher, received high marks — most, though not all. This is just going to be a short post, and I’m going to highlight some items that stood out:

* Though “writing essays” was rated as one of the activities Intermediate students liked the least, they — impressively, I think — ranked it very high as one of the activities they learned the most from doing.

* Beginner students ranked our use of the Picture Word Inductive Model as both one of the activities they liked the most and one from which they learned the most. I was glad to see that…

* All student ranked using computers high in both categories.

* Students ranked me high in most teaching qualities. However, I was surprised to see that the qualities where I received the lowest (though still relatively high) marks were in “patience” and “is organized and prepared.” Since I think those are two of my strongest areas, I’m not sure what to make of it. There is such a wide range of English proficiency in the class, and this is the first year we’ve tried to do a combined Intermediate/Beginner class, things can be a little hectic trying to balance it all. I wonder if that contributes to my appearing to have less patience and being less prepared? Or, on the other hand, maybe I am just less patient and less prepared than I think I am? I’ve got to think about this a little more.

* Though four-fifths of the class ranked me at the top of the scale as a teacher they would like to have again, one-fifth gave a middle or low-ranking response to that question. Though that’s a low percentage, it’s still the biggest non-positive response I’ve every gotten for the question from a class. It would certainly be helpful to know if there is a pattern to those responders — if they are in the Intermediates or Beginners, or if it crosses both but, of course, that’s not possible to know in an anonymous survey. Everyone said that the pace of the class is “just right,” as opposed to being too slow or too fast, so I tend not to think that a lack of differentiation is the problem.

I’d love to hear other people’s analyses of these responses. At this point, my primary take-away is that I should continue to do what I’m doing, and be a little more conscious of patience and preparation.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Seems like the survey served its purpose–to have you reflect on your teaching practices. I often find myself in a similar position after a student survey. Some think I need to improve at what? Really? I imagine you are patient and organized but those are subjective. This highlights why teaching is so difficult–you can’t be everything to everyone. It’s important to get student feedback, think about it, and continue to evolve. Thanks for writing.

    • Dan,

      Good commentary. Thanks!


    • Hi
      I believe there is a big subjectivity factor in any such evaluation. It all comes down to personal feelings students have about the teacher, which is contributing as much as the professional quality of the teacher’s performance to their evaluation. Students’ feelings perhaps more than reason are the determining factor in assessing the teacher. For one thing, if the student is achieving well, he or she is inclined to assess the teacher higher than the student who is achieving lower. Also, if a student doesn’t like anything (e.g. body language) about the teacher, this will be reflected in their responses. The teacher may be a paragon of effective educator but this may be of little consequence if students have set expectations about what they want and limit their learning by waiting to get it, rather than making the most of what is provided by the teacher.

  2. I am extremely impressed with how seriously you take student reviews/comments (and the seemingly high-quality responses you get). I think there are a lot of teachers out there (and schools too) that could learn from you on the subject.

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