The Internet is a wonderful thing. There is so much useful information on different dog training lists. In fact, I consider this one of the more productive means of continuing education.
There was a discussion on one such list about class evaluation forms. Many use these, usually at the end of class. The object is to get information about what your students think of your class so that you can make improvements. I had used these end-of-class evaluation forms before, and did not find them particularly helpful. Of course, the wording has to be right. The form I used was, in my opinion, too involved. Well, I read the discussions on these forms without too much interest until someone suggested having an evaluation form in the middle of class. The light bulb went on – great idea!
So, I made my own mid-term evaluation form. I’ve used it the last two classes, and Wow! Am I impressed! This little six-question form let me know what each student felt they had a problem with in time to help them before class ended. It is short enough that they don’t have to spend much time answering the questions. The questions are:
- What have you learned so far in class that has been the MOST beneficial?
- What exercise is the hardest for you and your dog?
- Which is the easiest?
- Is there an exercise or command you would like more individual help with?
- After reading and reviewing the written material given with the class, do you now have any behavior problems you don’t know how to deal with?
- Any comments on the class in general?
I was able to help people with things I had no idea they had a problem with. I put together articles and different sources of information on digging for one student. I put together a list of tips for handling hyperactive dogs for a student whose dog seemed normal in class, but who was hyper at home. I put together a plan of action for one student whose dog snaps at the kids when they try to get something from him. Several felt they needed some help with the exercises we were learning at the time.
This form gave me the information I needed to give my students more help. It didn’t take much time. They filled out the form on Week 5 of an eight week class. I went over the forms during the week and thought about how to handle each problem. When they next came to class, I was ready with the help and information they wanted.
I have started using the mid-session evaluation and it sure lets you know what is working and what is not. Most importantly it gives you the time to fix any problems your students might be having.
©1997 Margery West