Critique your students’ work

Amanda Perelli

Here is a list of things I believe professors should take into consideration for their classes. A professor or mentors honest feedback is just as important as the work itself. Next time your students hand something in, think about these questions below and consider giving your students some feedback, because without it we’ll never grow.

**Disclaimer: this is directed toward professors who teach in the School of Communications, because I am a SoC major, but essentially this can apply to any class!

What’s the point?

What’s really the point of a student handing in a project like a video, article or design if you aren’t going to tear it apart? What will that student get out of creating if they aren’t receiving critical feedback? Nothing.

A student will never get better if they don’t know how they can improve. Chances are you can pick out a couple of things in all of your students work that needs improving. Tell them that! Don’t be afraid of putting a student on the spot or ‘hurting their feelings’ especially if you’re teaching in the SoC. They’ll get ripped apart in the real world so why not introduce them to that type of critical feedback now. That’s a huge part of the industry we never get to see, until it’s too late and we’ve graduated.

What does a letter grade really do for the student?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. If your class is based off of letter grades being punched into the system, you’re doing it backward. Forget the grades, the sun will still rise and everything will be okay, just consider doing things a little differently. Next time your students hand something in, grab your trusty red pen and dive in. Critique each piece until your hands hurt and you’re up late thinking about why you decided to become a professor, oh yeah! You wanted to help future generations, well here you go, here’s your shot, be honest with them and tell them when they aren’t producing acceptable work.

What are you afraid of?

Evaluate why you are so afraid of giving your students honest feedback. I hear so many professors apologize for critiquing my work afterward and I don’t think any apology is necessary. Critique sessions are apart of art classes; for example I take a photography class here and each week the professor picks apart our photos in a constructive way. More of what happens in art classes down the hallway, should also be happening in the classroom.