Student Consultant Program
|WHAT IS THE SCP?||VIDEO PRESENTATION||TEACHER & STUDENT COMMENTS||FAQs|
Featured in the first CAOBE newsletter, the Student Consultant Program (SCP) is a comprehensive answer to the question of how our students are learning in our classes. Rather than just involving a single written evaluation at the end of the semester (which does not help those particular students), the SCP gives a teacher continuous feedback from the perspective of the students in his/her class throughout the entire semester, so that he/she can always be working on the feedback loop. Part of the Student Voice movement, similar programs are already established in Liberal Arts Colleges in the US, the UK and Australia, where students become agents in the classroom, creating a bridge between students and teacher.
The SCP involves creating term-long faculty-student partnerships, where a trained student observer works with the teacher to offer him/her regular (confidential) feedback on both practical and pedagogical issues, including affirmation and suggestions regarding classroom practices, teacher-student interactions and student engagement and responses. This involves weekly observations with pre- and post-observation meetings throughout the semester. (Shorter-term and one-off partnerships can also be offered.) Such a process enables teachers to get a unique student perspective on their teaching that may not be perceived from the regular end-of-term student evaluations. It may also give some insight into how to solve specific classroom or teaching problems. Student Consultants can also be used to deliver mid-term evaluations or gather feedback from the class at any point in the semester.
The program has proved to be transformative both for the teachers and the Student Consultants involved. In recognition of their proactive and collaborative efforts in improving the student learning experience and outcomes in the pilot classrooms, Prof Liz Ho, the founder and first Program Director, and the three initial Consultants were presented with the ‘Outstanding Contribution to OBE Award’ for 2014-15.
If you are interested in finding out more about this program, please contact Prof. Jim Pounder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part 1: Presentation by Program Director and Student Consultant
Part 2: Q & A - Adapting the program to the Hong Kong context
"I understand what my role as a student [is] to the teacher more now, as I used to consider myself as a receiver only. As someone [who has] always been in a “spoon-feeding” education system, I never realized the importance of students to a teacher and I now understand how much my behavior will affect the teacher and her expectation [for] the class. I now feel like, instead of being the receiving end (sic), we are both learning from each other in [a] different way."
"This is definitely a program worth promoting to everyone in school as it stresses the importance of teaching and learning, which sometimes both students and teachers have forgotten about."
It provides a platform for student representatives to provide valuable advice for professors that only students could know, like the very authentic ideas provided by those students to teachers. And it’s not official; it’s not like it would affect the teachers’ rating or promotion. But it would be really valuable for those teachers who would like to pursue a perfect teaching of their courses.
If you WANT to be a better educator…then you MUST participate in this program. Not only will you gain insight about your teaching methods and be provided with qualitative feedback, but you will also gain invaluable insight into how this generation of students learns. Connecting with students is the first step to gaining their trust and attention.
As a new faculty member at Lingnan University, the program gave me the opportunity to adjust my teaching to a new context, and I’m sure that as a result of the program, the speed and quality of this adjustment was greatly improved … Through the partnership, I’ve been reminded of the power of observation as the starting point of reflection and discussion … We had interesting discussions of observations that may not turn out to be “right” or “wrong” in the end, but serve as a useful point of departure for considering different approaches and methods for teaching … . I would recommend the program for new teachers and experienced teachers alike.
Unlike a traditional peer observation that happens only once, the [consultant] was able to advise and comment on a class and then watch as changes were implemented throughout the course of the semester. An added bonus was being able to collaborate with the student consultant early on in the week and talk through my proposed lesson plan; go through the course materials and garner advice on proposed adjustments, activities, etc.
What I was most impressed with was the way the student consultant began to understand my style but also became more intuitive of the students particular needs. The more she observed the more personalized our sessions became. … It takes time to analyse students particular strengths and weaknesses, and over time she was able to become one of the group, which made observing more effective and productive.