At the end of the semester, I tell my students that I will give them final feedback in the form of answers to three questions that they can ask me. The questions can range from the specific and immediate, e.g. how did this moment in my final scene go?, to broader, semester-long growth questions, and even beyond, to questions about the craft of acting more generally or the business of being an actor. I always give a due date by which the questions must be submitted. (I caution against questions that are too broad, i.e. about the meaning of life, as I definitely don’t have the answer to that one!)
I started this “hack” after spending hours and hours writing final feedback letters that my students then never picked up. I realized that if they weren’t interested in the feedback, I shouldn’t spend the time to write it. This way, I’m addressing things that have relevance to the students, and I’m also not writing feedback for every student. Very often, I only have one or two students who send me the three questions.
On November 12, 2019 Muhlenberg colleagues gathered to share their teaching hacks. Teaching hacks are relatively simple strategies that we might use to improve student learning or reduce our workload. These strategies might free up additional class time, increase the efficiency of our practices, or better support our ability to work on scholarship or service.