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'Responding to resistance' - summary



The ‘problem’

Dear Richard, Ema and Peter

I am one of ELSM student and am writing this letter to say something about our class […] This is not just my opinion […] most of students (at least more than half) seems to be dissatisfied […] The reason is firstly, there are too much discussion rather than input from you. […] I am not sure what feedback you had from all different student, but I strongly believe that not everybody is honest on that issue, as we don’t want to offend against any of you […]


What we did

1) Re-examine previously gathered student feedback and post responses on electronic discussion forum

2) Develop a targeted questionnaire based on letter-writer’s complaints as well as more general feedback, and share results with students

¤ No point doing peer teaching: only 1/19 agreed

¤ Too much discussion and not enough input: 13/19 agreed, 6/19 neutral … nobody disagreed!

¤ I am personally dissatisfied with the course: 5/19 agreed,10/19 disagreed, 4/19 neutral

¤ Most students are dissatisfied with the course: 8/19 agreed, 5/19 disagreed, 6/19 neutral


As a result, in that and subsequent years we:

  • Explained the rationale for the course more clearly
  • Put in place tutorial arrangements which helped smooth the transition to self-directed work
  • But we did not reduce the amount of self-directed work or significantly increase the amount of input