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by Marlene Cohen, Coordinator of Communication Across the Curriculum 

Itís often at this time of the semester that we have those moments of "I should have," or "I could have," or "Maybe next time it would be better if I . . . ." So what better time to self-assess and ask your students for feedback on your communication approaches in the classroom? They know you well enough now to tell you, if you want to hear it.

Maryellen Weimer et. al., offer a full booklet of self-assessment instruments on teacher communication. Below are questions to ask in some important classroom communication categories. Hope you find them useful. Contact me at if you would like more sections of evaluation instruments. Happy summer!

How do your students perceive your classroom teaching in the following areas?


  • Begins and ends on time in an orderly, organized fashion
  • Previews lecture/discussion content
  • Clearly states the goal or objective for the period
  • Reviews prior class materials in preparation for the content to be covered
  • Provides internal summaries and transitions
  • Does not digress often from the main topic
  • Summarizes and distills main points at the end of class (or asks students to do so)
  • Appears well prepared for class


  • incorporates various instructional methods
  • Uses a variety of spaces in the classroom from which to present material
  • Board writing is large and legible
  • Speech fillers, as "ok," "um," are not distracting
  • Speaks audibly and clearly
  • Use of gestures is positive, not annoying
  • Communicates enthusiasm and excitement toward the content
  • Use of humor is positive and appropriate
  • Lectures are easy to takes notes from
  • Difficult vocabulary is explained
  • Level of language is appropriate
  • Talks to the class, not the board or windows
  • Varies the pace
  • Does not speak in a monotone


  • acknowledges deserving student contributions
  • Solicits feedback
  • Requires student thought and participation
  • Responds constructively to student opinions
  • Knows and uses student names
  • Does not deprecate ignorance or misunderstanding
  • Responds to students as individual
  • Treats class members equitably
  • Listens carefully to comments and questions
  • Recognizes when students do not understand or are confused
  • Encourages mutual respect among students


  • encourages questions, involvement and debate
  • Answers questions clearly and directly
  • Uses rhetorical questions to gain attention
  • Provides enough time for students to respond to questions
  • Refrains from answering own questions
  • Responds to wrong answers constructively
  • Provides ample time in which students may ask questions
  • Encourages students to respond to each otherís questions
  • Encourages students to answer difficult questions by providing cues and encouragement
  • Allows relevant student discussion to proceed uninterrupted
  • Presents challenging questions to stimulate discussion
  • Respects diverse points of view

The Instructional Newsletter, Volume 17, No. 4

Spring 2002