from: An Epicodus graduate <[email protected]>
to: Michael Kaiser-Nyman <[email protected]>
date: Mon, May 26, 2014 at 9:46 AM
subject: Feedback

Hi Michael,

I notice that you are constantly asking for feedback and you honestly try to work with them. How do you process feedback that you disagree with? I think it is important for me to be aware of what others are thinking and feeling.  I also need to work with where people are at.


from: Michael Kaiser-Nyman <[email protected]>
to: An Epicodus graduate <[email protected]>
date: Tue, May 27, 2014 at 9:43 AM
subject: Re: Feedback

Yeah, it’s tough. Sometimes I get feedback that I disagree with. Then I ask myself, why did this person give me this feedback? If they asked me to change something, and I don’t think it’s something I should change, is there something else I can change to get them the results they want? For example, in my very first class, many students told me they wanted me to do live coding in class. I did it a couple times, but I didn’t think it was a good use of class time, and I thought they should be spending the time coding. But it did make me realize that students wanted to see more of my coding, so I thought about other ways I could give them that experience. That’s why I started making videos. Nobody ever asked me to make videos, but the feedback about wanting live coding made me realize videos would be a good idea.

Other times, I choose to disregard the feedback. For example, when I started assigning more Railscasts toward the end of this class instead of making videos myself, some students said that they liked my videos better. But I believe that at some point, we have to let students start using the lower-quality material available more generally, since they won’t have my videos forever. Even then, though, I decided that this feedback meant I needed to set better expectations, and let students know that the videos would get harder to follow when I stopped making them, so that they would know what to expect.

So, it’s sometimes not about taking somebody’s feedback literally - often, you have to search for the meaning in their feedback, and find ways for you to address their concerns on terms that work for you.

I hope that helps.