The focus of feedback
You may have processes to help you receive feedback on your volunteering. For example, an automated email sent by organisers to educators immediately after an activity asking them to send feedback. However, if you don’t have automated processes for receiving feedback from the educators, it is still possible to proactively gather feedback by formulating some basic questions.
The topics you could focus on might include:
- The organisation of the activity prior to the day.
- Whether the topic was interesting and relevant for the audience.
- The resources you used and the materials provided.
- Timing and structure of the activity.
- How engaged the young people were.
Educator feedback on your skills
It is one thing to ask for feedback on the content of a STEM activity. However, it is more challenging to ask for feedback on your personal delivery skills and feedback which can inform your own personal skills development.
The educator is well placed to provide feedback on your presentation and communication skills with young people. First of all, they should be present at all group activities, so will have observed it. Secondly, they will have experience of working with young people. Thirdly, in many cases they will also have received formal training in how to work with young people and give feedback.
Of course, some feedback can be merely an affirmation that you delivered a successful activity and you may not be able to identify anything specific to improve on. This is still worth receiving and provides confidence that you have performed well and met expectations.
However, receiving constructive feedback on something you can improve on can be a real opportunity. You will be partly reliant on the skills of the person and their ability to give you constructive feedback with something concrete you can work on to improve. You can design questions that are likely to elicit useful responses and prepare more probing questions if you feel the educator has something more to offer you.
Let’s consider this approach to getting feedback:
Volunteer: ‘What did you think of my introduction?’
Educator: ‘It was fine’.
The educator’s response is not really detailed enough for you to act upon. Examples of a specific question you could ask instead could be:
- ‘How did my introduction help to engage the young people?’
- ‘Is there anything I could do to improve my introduction to the activity?’
Create a specific question you could ask an educator which would help you to obtain some constructive feedback.
Share your question with learners.
Select two questions posted by other learners. Provide feedback to them on whether their questions are specific enough or need more clarification.