Published: July 1, 2020

Edu Montes RomeroEduardo Montes Romero, MA Student, Spanish and Portuguese

During the spring semester of 2020, Edu Montes Romero (Spanish and Portuguese) taught SPAN 1150: First Year Intensive Spanish. After teaching the course during previous semesters, Edu was worried that he was not getting enough feedback from his students not only on their own learning, but also on his effectiveness as an instructor. He decided to ask for comments or suggestions about the new methods and techniques that he was using. Once classes went remote in March, he relied even more heavily on this practice to take suggestions and receive feedback regularly from students.

Edu incorporated a weekly feedback journal, diarios in Spanish, in which students could record their thoughts on their own progress, as well as give formative feedback to him on his own teaching methods. Through this process, students were extremely happy to be engaged in a dialogue on their own learning. They further made helpful suggestions for Edu to become an even more effective teacher.

When asked how the practice of using these diarios in class fostered a more inclusive learning environment, Edu commented that giving students individual feedback in itself makes the students feel that they are part of the teaching and learning process. By engaging directly with the students, Edu could adjust to student needs quickly. One way that Edu was able to encourage students towards reflection was to make the diarios worth 2% of their final grade if they completed them all. Additionally, by allowing students to use English in their first few write-ups he was able to build on their overall understanding and then move towards reflections in the target language later in the semester. All in all, this low-effort self-reflection yielded multiple benefits.

One student commented, "The diarios were helpful because they gave us a space to provide feedback on our own time, and Edu was very responsive to our suggestions/questions, which fine-tuned the material and teaching to be as effective as it could be for us!"