I’ve expressed in writing at least once before how I feel about the public ratings and comments used on so many interactive websites. My article for the Materials Writers Interest Section of TESOL argued that such feedback should be seen as a helpful tool and not a source of anxiety. I must confess, though, that a degree of anxiety is present each time I click on an Upload or Publish button. You put a bit of yourself in each piece of work, from a podcast to an interactive exercise, so it can be difficult to control your emotions when initially faced with feedback that’s more critical than appreciative.
One thing that takes some adjusting to when you create ELT materials online is that you cannot really judge your performance until it’s over and you begin to receive feedback from your audience. In contrast, traditional classroom teaching lets you observe and judge while you’re sharing your materials. You can make adjustments and additions based on how the students are responding.
How do you know your lessons and choice of materials are successful? You obviously don’t have a sign over your door flashing a four- or five-star rating. Do you judge by the students’ performance? Do you look for smiles? Do you ask for comments? Do you ever use a survey? Do you give more weight to student feedback or feedback from peers and supervisors?
Feel free share your ideas. I think it would be helpful to know the tools and the criteria others use to judge the quality of their lessons.