One Presentation Reflection

It is a conference month, so I decided to join by sharing a reflective post on my presentation. It was a 50-minute session on ‘Livening Up the Process‘ (yes, the initial #liveninguptheprocesschallenge idea went further)

This is the brief description of the session

If you are like me, you may sometimes feel the need for a quick ‘inspiration shot’ for your lessons. Come to this session and discuss what makes the process of learning lively and active, and how simple objects a teacher brings can change the mood of the group, the pace of the lesson and impact on student learning. You may benefit from the session even more if you bring an object or two that you like using in the classroom. For examples and ideas read this post (and check the links at the end!) The session is inspired by my conversations with co-trainers on courses, blog reading and writing, and most importantly, reflecting on what I have been doing in class.

add here is the link to the slides, if you are interested. 

At the very end of the session I asked the participants to write a brief feedback note on a post-it paper and stick it to the Feedback A-4 sheet near the door, and/or to write their e-mail address to receive a link to a Google form feedback to fill out.

A simple ‘exit ticket’ way to collect feedback notes.

Some stats first:

  • 37 people were present
  • 32 people wrote a post-it note
  • 16 people wrote a feedback post-it note, and 16 only wrote their e-mail addresses
  • 5 people completed the online form

My reflective notes on the post-it notes in-session

  • They were very positive
  • Thank you‘ was used 10 times. 
  • The following adjectives were used to describe the session: great, interesting (4 times), helpful, refreshing, inspiring, productive, useful, wonderful, interactive.
  • At least 4 commenters mentioned getting ideas for their lessons: fresh ideas for my classes, some practical and interesting ideas to use with my students in class, some new ideas on how to liven up my lessons
  • At least 3 commenters said it was important that they had a chance to share their thoughts and ideas with the others

Some quotes to share:

  • I’ve found some quite unusual ways to engage my students.
  • The workshop was the source of inspiration
  • It was good to get some ideas and inspiration from you
  • The session for me was interesting. But we need more practice!

A simple A-5 handout for the session (with the space for drawing on the other side!)

The online feedback form

Could you please spend no longer than 5 minutes filling out this form? An e-mail with the links from the session is coming right after this one! Thank you very much!

  • Rank 1-5: How useful/helpful was the session for you?
  • What was your favorite part of the session?
  • What was a challenging part of the session? How would you make it different?
  • Other questions and comments to the speaker.

The data I collected

How useful/helpful was the session for you? Rank 1-5

  • ‘3’ – 1 respondent
  • ‘4’ – 2 respondents
  • ‘5’ – 2 respondents

One person wrote that she was more interested in the speaker’s manner and style than the topic of the session, that’s why she sees it as a ‘3’ in terms of usefulness.

What was your favorite part of the session?

  • Discussion/brainstorming questions with new people who have another experience differ from mine
  • Discussion in groups
  • Discussion and sharing is always my favorite part. At your session it was a great opportunity to learn new ways of using different objects brought to the classroom while discussing it in groups.
  • Practice
  • It was the way you organized it.

What was a challenging part of the session? How would you make it different?

more practice I suppose (I’m not sure because everything was ok)

to find the way how to implement the represented objects during the lesson

I didn’t face any big challenges. As far as you are waiting for the constructive feedback, I’d like to share some of my thoughts. Firstly, the most irritating thing was the noise at the back of the room (some of the participants were talking) which was very distracting. I couldn’t name this disrespect for the presenter, but still you should do something. Next, the audience wasn’t involved much, the people weren’t active, there were no grouping or re-grouping though I’ve noticed that handouts were of different colors (was it done on purpose?) Then, personally I needed more time for sharing the ideas with more people: the more people you talk to the more ideas you may learn. And, finally…I had the strange feeling of incompleteness of the session at the end.

It was all good, easy, clear and smooth.

Yes, there were 5 colors (livening the process up, right?)

Other questions and comments to the speaker

I’m grateful to you one more time. I have got a great experience. Tomorrow some your ideas will be used at my lessons. Maybe the question I /troubled/faced with is how to stay productive longer and liven up myself at the LAST lessons. Because I don’t have breaks between my classes and I’m quickly getting tired.

I really appreciate the work you do and understand the role of feedbacks. My choice of YOUR session wasn’t done at random as I carefully studied all the materials/sessions announced. The name of your session seemed to be very interesting and engaging. But I wanted to get more out of these 50 minutes – more information, more ideas… But if I have a chance to attend your another session, I’ll definitely do that! Wish you good luck and inspiration!

I hope to see more of you around 🙂

Am I seeing the same thing as you are? Yes, the critical (grey cursive) part in the feedback got my attention. I saw it as ‘criticism’ and possibly treated as such, at least at the beginning. 

Immediate response to criticism

  1. desire to explain and defend (Yes, had it on my plan to change groups if time. No, did not know that the room will be large and that all the tables in fixed rows, etc.)
  2. the need to ask more questions about this feedback (Did the feedback giver want to offer a suggestion, or share how she would have done it?)
  3. Hm, I was actually upset that the session was not perfect**

Delayed response (about one month after) and what I learned from getting feedback on this session:

Gratitude to the people who took their time and wrote their thoughts about the session

Desire to share this post!

Curiosity what I could learn and improve on reflection. For example, I think it is important to pay attention to the following:

  • how participants are supposed to be working (individually, in groups) and what the session would ask them to do (sometimes, to just listen, and sometimes to participate and share)
  • the reason why a ‘practice’ or interaction stage is embedded in the session needs to be explicit
  • voice projection – asking if people can hear me at the back, asking them to sit closer
  • the use and purpose of the session materials/handouts, if any.

For the future:

  • I will definitely keep asking for feedback on the sessions: the learning from it is invaluable
  • I might use this experience in a course for new trainers [in its planning stage now]
  • **I must remember that there are no perfect sessions, presentations, trainers, etc. > > Have I already mentioned this before (an old post)?

Questions to readers:

  1. Do you have any feedback on the presentation (description, slides, handout, feedback questions, feedback data, etc.)?
  2. How do you collect feedback from your audience?
  3. How do you respond to the feedback you receive?
  4. How do you reflect on your presenting skills?

Thank you for reading! 🙂

About Zhenya

ELT: teacher educator, trainer coach, reflective practice addict
This entry was posted in Reflective Practice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to One Presentation Reflection

  1. You’re very brave to ask for feedback on your sessions, Zhenya! Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hana Tichá says:

    A very interesting post (as usual). It is so pleasant to listen to positive feedback and so unsettling to hear criticism, right? The truth is, as you imply yourself, that ‘negative’ feedback is much more valuable – it makes you sit up and notice. To be honest, I’m not someone who likes to criticize others because I believe people usually do their best. But most importantly, I believe in the self-correction ability most adults have.
    I’d like to share an anecdote here: Last week, I went to a training session. It was the 15th or so session of the course I’m taking part in – it’s always with the same group of participants but a different presenter. We know each other like the back of our hands and we are very good friends. Last time, we were particularly chatty and unfocused. However, the presenter didn’t say or do anything. Anyway, during the lunch break, one of the participants mentioned that we’d been very disruptive. Most of us agreed and we immediately decided to do something about it. To cut it short, in the afternoon part of the session, everybody behaved. 🙂 My point is: nobody had to reprimand us; we noticed ourselves that something was not quite right and we reached a consensus. I was very proud of us and I wish it always worked this way – even in the classroom.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Zhenya says:

      Hi Hana, thank you for your comment and support!
      I am a believer in self-correction and awareness, and I was also curious this time about how a session is perceived by people attending it. Also, I think (or hope?) that people do not like criticizing others and do it when they feel it is helpful. Too idealistic, perhaps, but it helps me see it this way.

      The example you gave from the recent session shows/reminds two important points to me: people do not not chat just because the session is boring [useless/irrelevant, etc.] and people are able to think back, notice, reflect and make actions. Yes, I wish this was a rule, and a classroom full of teenagers might act differently 🙂 It’s interesting though that teachers working with kids or teenagers sometimes start to act like them (and not the other way around) and that’s where (I think) the comment to ‘stop our talking’ comes from. Maybe…

      Something that’s not in the post (and I doubt that those people wrote any feedback at all): two were clearly uninterested in the session (in the event overall) and were only attending because their university offered their premises for the venue and could send their teachers for free. This was far more disruptive (although they simply kept silent during all the activities) I am now noticing that my reflection and attendees feedback focuses on different points. Well, one of the ideas of feedback is to notice these threads! 🙂

      Thank you for our conversation, as always!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sandy Millin says:

    Thank you for sharing these ideas Zhenya. I’m really bad at asking for feedback on my sessions and my teaching, and it’s something I should definitely try more often. It was interesting to read your reflections and to see the process you went through, and it’s something I hope to imitate in the future. Thanks for the inspiration!


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