After every class, we give feedback to the parents and the next teacher. The parents rely on this to check the progress their child is making. You want to write personal, detailed feedback that encourages them and their student and helps them know how he is doing and what he can work on.
To add feedback, click “Add Feedback” in the classroom. You can also enter feedback from your phone on the app. On the computer, a form will pop up that looks something like this. This one is from a class where I already submitted the feedback. He is a regular who only takes lessons from me so I did not put anything in the Teacher Feedback.
You will enter feedback for the parents, for the next teacher (optional, but highly advised) and then choose a level of difficulty. The choices at the bottom are for you to evaluate each area of the lesson. Keep in mind that an Excellent rating is appropriate if the student accomplishes whatever the objective for the lesson is. If they can’t read the word but can identify the beginning sound, look at the objective. Was the objective to read or just identify the beginning sound? If they accomplished the objectives, they deserve excellent.
These ratings are translated into a score that is given to the parents. For each area that they do not score excellent on, it drops the score by 3 points. So for 2 areas at great and others at excellent, the score would be 94.
Writing Effective Feedback
There is an art to writing feedback and it is a great tool to use to establish regular students and elicit the coveted 5 apple feedbacks!
Feedback to the Parents
Always start off with a great greeting. I start most of mine with something like, “Daniel did a great job in class today!” Use their name repeatedly so that it does not sound like a canned response. Be specific on what they learned and any vocabulary words or target sentences.
Talk about what they did well. “He is an excellent reader and did well on the 3 letter words.” “She has great conversation skills and told me all about her pet turtle.”
If there is an area where the student doesn’t do so well, coat it in sugar! By this, I mean, say it diplomatically. “Help Daniel practice his sight words at home before our next lesson, please. He struggled with, [said, for, you, they, these.] Have him practice spelling them, telling you the letters.” “Dylan does a great job repeating sentences and phrases but struggles to answer questions that are not just repetitions of previous things he has read. This conversation skill will improve as he continues his lessons.”
I like to use a “Sugar sandwich” for feedback: something he did good, something to work on, something good. Always end on positive.
The feedback is translated to Chinese for parents who do not speak English. If you want a word to stay in English, put it in quotation marks or brackets. Sometimes this prevents those words from being translated. Use simple language so that it translates accurately. You can run it through a translator if you want but you don’t have to.
If there is a behavior issue, address that in the parent feedback carefully. “Andy was very active today and did not want to pay attention much. It might be helpful to have a parent sit with him during his lesson to help him focus.” Of course there are times when you have to be blunt, “Andy used the word “f*ck” today in class when telling me about a friend. I’m sure he knows that word is very offensive. Please speak to him about not using that kind of language with his teacher.” (Yes, I really had to write that.)
Final Project Instructions
Be sure and include instructions for Final Projects if they are discussed in class. If the student chooses one, give those details. If they don’t choose one, include the details for all 3. Remind the parents that it is worth several points on their assessment and which lesson it is due in.
Teaching Parents through Feedback
Sometimes we teach the parents through our feedback. I have a regular that I have now taught about 50 times. His dad is always there in the lesson and if Jack doesn’t give the answer right away, Dad jumps in and gives him the answer. Sometime he will bump his shoulder, like “hurry up!” I have addressed this is feedback with things like, “Beginning students learning a new language need time to read or hear a question, translate it, think of the answer, translate it back to English and then say it. This process may take them several seconds so let’s not rush to give him the answer too quickly. When we give him the answer, he doesn’t have to think himself. The speed of his answers will improve as he continues to learn.” You can’t just say, “Shut up Dad!” as much as you want to.
After about 40 classes with Jack, Dad and I talked a little at the end of class about how much Jack loved my classes and I asked, “Could you please leave me some apple ratings?” he said, “How do I do that?” I sometimes wonder if he ever read the feedback I sent but the next morning I woke up to 7 5-apple ratings from him!
Trial Class feedback
Feedback for a trial is crucial. You are the salesperson here! You are selling yourself to get them to rebook you and you are selling VIPKID. Talk about what VIPKID and you can offer their child. Talk about what they can expect in the lessons to come and how much you enjoyed their child. “As Tina continues lessons with VIPKID, she will grow in her mastery of the English language. We will work on reading through phonics and conversation skills throughout the classes. She will grow more confident in her language skills as she gets more familiar with me and the VIPKID classroom.”
Converting Parent Feedback to Apple Ratings and one time students to regulars
We always want feedback from our parents but some don’t ever give it which is frustrating. The way you do your feedback can affect whether or not they give you feedback and whether or not they rebook you!
Parents want detailed feedback with what their child has done in class and how their child did. Not just all flowers and sunshine. Be honest but kind. If there is an area where they struggle, talk about the way you will address that in your next class. “Dylan had difficulty answering the comprehension questions at the end of the story, so in our next class we will work on…..”
Parents spend a huge amount of money for these lessons so thank them for choosing to spend their money on you! “Thank you for choosing me to be Dylan’s teacher today. I look forward to seeing him in my classroom again very soon!”
Phrases and words to avoid in Feedback
These phrases mean something different once they go through a translator so avoid them. Some words will trigger an alert from the system when you enter them and some will not. You can use them in class but don’t write them in feedback. The system will actually not let you put some of these words in feedback.
- “Silly and goofy” translate to “stupid” and is highly offensive. Of course, one of the songs we teach is “5 Silly Monkeys.”
- “Works hard. Worked hard” translate to “the student is hard to work with.”
- “Awesome” translates to “terrible.”
Feedback must be submitted within 12 hours of finishing the class in order to receive full pay. If it is 12-24 hours after class, you will receive half pay. If it is after 24 hours you will not be paid for the class.
If you have several classes back-to-back you might wait until after the last class to submit all your feedback. Just take noted as you go so you remember what to say.
Leave a brief note for the next teacher. If their name is different from what is listed, include that. Tell them which final project they choose or an area they struggle in. What did they really like for rewards. Words they had difficulty with. It is optional but very helpful to leave this. If I have a student who only takes classes from me, I don’t leave teacher feedback except to leave myself a note about what project they chose or what reward I used. If it’s their first class with me, or I know they use other teachers, I leave feedback.
There are several sites that can help you with feedback.
Google Slides Planner
Join this FB group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/vipkidgs/
This group uses Google Slides for rewards and lesson props. Google slides is similar to Powerpoint in that it is a presentation software. They have already built thousands of presentations that have all kinds of rewards and props for your classes: extra pictures to explain a vocabulary word, more examples, etc.
All of this can be presented on your phone or tablet and held up to your screen or you can use video software like ManyCam or CamTwist (Mac only) to have it appear in your video feed in the classroom.
Now, here’s the great part! They have a planner (AND IT’S FREE!!!!!) that you can copy your schedule into and it suggests which presentations to use!!! Then, they partnered up with the teachers who built the huge feedback template and put those in there where it will populate your student’s feedback with their name!!!! You copy and paste and add details.
You have to request access to the drive and there are tutorials to teach you how to use it but it is amazing!!! So go check it out, spend an hour or so figuring out how to work it and enjoy!
This is a direct link to the Google Doc used for Feedback in the Planner above. It is a Google Doc with feedback already written out for almost all lessons. You copy it (right click, copy) and paste it into your feedback form. Then go back and edit it with your student’s name and any details you want to add. Be sure and read it all the way through to make sure the pronouns are correct. Change your teacher name at the bottom and add your own greeting or closing.
Feedback Panda – http://www.feedbackpanda.com
This site is $10 a month but sets up a Chrome Extension where it automatically brings in your student’s info and let’s you track all the feedback you give them. There are multiple feedback templates already written for each lesson. You choose the one you want to use and it plugs your student’s name and the correct pronouns in for you to copy and paste. Many people swear by Feedback Panda.
I used it some but found I was writing more of my own feedback so quit using it.
Collaborative Lesson Bank –
This Google Doc has notes and objectives for every class in VIPKID including props and vocab. There is a way to use it to generate feedback as well but I have not played with it enough to know much about it. They have a FB group and videos and workshops on how to use it. There is a charge for it.
Feedback from the Parents
The parents can send you feedback on a class. Only about 20-30% send feedback. Some send it for every class. Some never send it. They give you an apple rating of 1 (bad) all the way to 5 (excellent) apples.
You can see your feedback on the portal by clicking on the Feedback tab or on the phone app by clicking on the little person in the bottom right corner and then on parent feedback.
They can leave comments in English or Mandarin. The Mandarin comments are translated for you. They can also put positive or negative tags. For low apple ratings they must leave at least some tags for why the score is low.
Eventually, it’s going to happen. You’re going to get a low apple rating. You may teach your heart out but might have an off day or the parent is in a bad mood or the child was not doing what they were supposed to do and they take it out on you. Maybe even the child marks it and doesn’t know what they are doing. You might deserve it. You might not.
If they put a personal insult against you, you disagree with their comments or they base their score on a tech issue, you can ask for them to review the class. This must be done within 72 hours of the feedback being left. They may invalidate the apple score. In this case, it will no longer calculate into your average score. Unfortunately, this does not remove it from your system and other parents can see it. They do remove some comments with personal insults.
Your average score is for your last 100 classes.
Many parents use this as a way of communicating with a regular teacher. I have a student that mom and I talk about his progress through my feedback and her feedback. She rates every class! You can ask parents questions like, “How do you think Hao Xuan is doing on his letters? What things does he like so I can make a new reward for him? What was his favorite animal in our lesson on animals today? Please give me your answers when you leave you apple rating and feedback.”
Use this website to translate feedback or to translate what you are writing to see if it sounds good. http://fanyi.qq.com/ You don’t have to translate it but can if you want to. I don’t. It would take too much time!
End your feedback with a note of appreciation and a soft ask for feedback. I have used lots of different ones but have settled on the first one. I have a 30-50% feedback rate each month which is great! Here are some options:
- Thanks for a great lesson and your kind feedback and apple rating.
- VIPKID values 5 apple teachers, so please help me by leaving your apple rating with your comments on our class.
- Bao Bao was a 5 star student today and I hope I was a 5 apple teacher!
- Ask a question that has to be answered in the feedback. What kinds of things does Bao Bao like for rewards? Ask Bao Bao what his favorite animal is and tell me in your feedback.
- You can also ask them to follow you on the VIPKID portal so they can easily book another class with you.
- If you are pleased with the progress Dylan is making on our classes, please let VIPKID know by leaving a 5 apple feedback with your comments.
Join this group – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=156031751905693&ref=br_rs
This is run by someone who speaks Mandarin and if you have trouble understanding what the parent is saying even in the translation, they can help.
The teacher who started the group, Ed Nace, has written a book on writing feedback from the standpoint of someone who knows their culture. He lived there for several years. Go buy his book! https://www.ednace.com/?fbclid=IwAR33YRFi6j3BLRe7znerZqXVtIDopJlwax6nJZexK32GDh0D65WuYE0_XSo