Student insights

March 20, 2014

Sarah Moore’s point about the tendency to caricature students is well made (“Beware the caricature: students need nurturing, not negativity, to thrive”, Opinion, 13 March). Not only have the same tired generalisations been made about students over many generations, but there has been a tendency to assume that their reflections on their own experience are of limited value.

My experience of implementing institutional student feedback surveys indicates that students are well aware of situations where improvement is needed, even if they do not fully or maturely articulate this concern. In many instances, student input through such surveys has informed positive change and been vindicated by innovative engagement practice within individual institutions. We need to dispense with notions of “them and us” and develop an environment in which we both are partners in a learning process.

James Williams
Senior researcher, Social Research and Evaluation Unit, Faculty of Education, Law and Social Sciences
Birmingham City University

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