Even the thickest skinned of us can feel like crawling into a cave when we hear a piece of negative feedback. But mastery-oriented feedback is necessary for growth and improvement.
When I present, I sometimes pause the session after 20-30 minutes to ask my audience for feedback on my presenting style. I tell them to give me the most negative piece of feedback possible (even if they love me!). I have done this enough times to know what will be coming my way.
“You talk waaaay too fast! Can you slow down?”
“Your transitions are pretty abrupt. Can you be more clear about them?”
It isn’t often that a piece of feedback gives me pause. Accepting feedback – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and reflecting on it helps make my audience more comfortable. It lightens the mood and drives a discussion. It gets me thinking about what I could do better to teach and inspire.
But feedback shouldn’t only be taken seriously when coming from your peers (or your boss!). Student feedback also plays a critical role in forming a teacher’s perspective. Next time you are in class, with your peers, or with your superiors, ask for honest feedback. Take is graciously. Fight the impulse to defend yourself and see how it can truly make you better.