How students evaluate their teachers

If you’ve ever received less-than-stellar student evaluations of your teaching, you’ve likely felt torn between taking the criticisms on board and ignoring them to save your ego.

A new paper published in Teaching in Higher Education shares evidence to support the former. Researchers Tanya Lubicz-Nawrocka and Kieran Bunting at Edinburgh’s School of Education analyzed 3,000 student recommendations for faculty awards and identified patterns in what students framed as quality teaching.

Their findings? Students repeatedly praised teachers who gave them helpful and timely feedback, made time for them outside of class, showed genuine passion for their subject area, and were reliable in their engagement and follow-up. In short: students recognized these basic good practices — suggesting that they notice when they’re absent, as well.

Check out the Times Higher Education’s longer summary of the study’s findings — great to keep in mind for your own teaching!