A few days ago I taught the last lesson of the course for adults (end of Summer semester). Each student was handed a feedback form to fill out.
Despite being a teacher for many years, this is my first experience with a real, clear cut, “for profit” framework. The message that it is a business is being hammered home in many ways. The main one is, of course, the size of the language class for the weakest students in the school -37 students.
But its the other ways in which the message “the customer is always right” is being sent that makes me wonder what the purpose of these forms really is. I have already been asked to teach the course again, so that can’t be the reason I was asked to meet with “the big honcho” (not the English coordinator) to discuss them.
A telling example has to do with use of the site Quizlet, which I believe to be a very useful tool. I put up two lists of relevant vocabulary for my students to practice. I made a simple screencast showing them how to use it. In addition I posted a page in mother tongue explaining how to use it. Despite all that, it seems one or two students had trouble with it and asked for help from the support service (students can’t write me directly, emails go through the office first). I was immediatly told not to use Quizlet.
So what happens if a student complains that there wasn’t enough groupwork or too much groupwork? What about the number of quizzes I gave in class? I gave quite a few, short, easy ones as I believe that success breeds motivation (which leads to more success) but there were a couple of students who did not hand in the tasks and did not take all the quizzes. How will “the customer is always right theory” work here?
I’d be very interested to hear how such things work in other places.