Cardinal sin: Time management

I completely underestimated how long it would take to edit and upload videos of my international students’ presentations and to watch them often enough to give appropriate and useful feedback. I’m guilty of atrocious time management. Promising written feedback you just can’t provide in the time they expect is a cardinal sin.

When asking students to do something in the future, I mustn’t encourage them to do a task that requires feedback and not leave enough time for that feedback in class. Any deferred written feedback can cause problems and has to be ancillary. I used to know this. But I am challenged by the quality standards I am setting myself.

In this case, I had great difficulty understanding the students’ presentations. Their accents are both my problem and theirs, and in fact I’m there to help them make their English more intelligible, and am challenged to become a better listener and teacher myself.

When we work on their written expression, I’ll need to factor in a first round of reading and feedback in class. I’ll also need to set aside a very clear window of time for the feedback, and not spend more time on each one than I have alotted. In my wish to do well by each individual student, I’ve neglected about a third. That musn’t happen again.

Now I’ve been chasing deadlines that keep me from providing it before December. This is a source of great embarassment, as I am deeply committed to teaching this group well, especially when we meet again in mid-December.

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Anne

Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

2 thoughts on “Cardinal sin: Time management”

  1. I share your pain – I have made similar promises of late to my trainee teachers x 21 and not sure where the time will come from.
    I have been looking into audio feedback recently and find this to be quite effective – see http://www.petitepipelette.posterous.com – a post called Do you Vocaroo? I have yet to use Mailvu.com but I hear it is equally v good and easy and quick to use.

    Best wishes – onwards and upwards…identifying an issue is half way to resolving it, non?
    Suzi Bewell
    CA Leader PGCE MFL
    The University of York

  2. Hi Suzi,
    Thanks for your suggestion and links!
    Audio feedback is something I’m definitely considering, too. Helen Strong uses it on her Nings, and says it’s engaging and time saving (her blog). Russell Stannard uses screen capture software to give feedback on written work (his site). The “engaging” side of things is definitely a good argument.
    In my case I get the impression that I lose precision in giving feedback when I speak, and need the format of a grid with reflections on what was good about the talk, and what needs improving, and how to improve it. If I’m going through that grid I’m already using a graphic organizer, and I haven’t got my head around doing that in audio. Plus, my students are mostly visual learners.
    On the other hand, perhaps the “factual” side of feedback is less important than the “relational” side — and that seems to be served better by speaking to them, both live and in audio/video formats.
    Yep, onwards and upwards :) Anne

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