Teachers’ experiences of student feedback: A view from a department of social work in Sweden

Michael Wallengren Lynch


INTRODUCTION: Course evaluations play a significant part in the facilitating of educational programmes at a university. Along with course evaluations, students are often asked for their reflections on teachers’ pedagogical methods and approaches. These types of questions can
be referred to as student evaluations of teaching, or SETs. Separately, there is growing, yet underdeveloped, interest in understanding the emotional impact the role of being a university lecturer has on the individual teacher. This piece of work is interested in combining the areas
of teacher development, SET and emotional impact. Therefore, this research is seeking to understand how teachers in a department of social work engage with student feedback, manage this feedback and understand pedagogical self-development.

METHODS: A mixed approach (an online survey and semi-structured interviews), was taken to gather the experiences of the teachers.

FINDINGS: The results show that all the teachers engaged with student feedback. It also showed that some teachers experienced negative emotions regarding feedback that were unpleasant but had strategies to deal with the feedback.

CONCLUSION: The results also pointed towards individual-directed solutions as the drivers behind creating good practices around pedagogical self-development, and for managing any emotional impact of SETs.


emotional impact; student evaluation of teaching; individual strategies

Full Text:



Biggs, J. (1999). Teaching for quality learning at university. Buckingham, UK: SRHE and Open University Press.

Biggs, J. (2003). Aligning teaching and assessment to curriculum objectives. York, UK: Higher Education Academy.

Boring, A. (2015). Gender bias in student evaluations of teachers. Report for EU. Retrieved from https://www.ofce.fr/pdf/dtravail/WP2015-13.pdf

Braga, M., Paccagnella, M., & Pellizzari, M. (2014). Evaluating students’ evaluations of professors. Economics of Education Review, 4(C), 71–88.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.

Budd, R. (2017). Undergraduate orientations towards higher education in Germany and England: Problematizing the notion of “student as customer.” Higher Education, 73(1), 23–37.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education. London, UK: Routledge.

de Lourdes Machado, M., Soares, V., & Teichler, U. (Eds.). (2017). Challenges and options: The academic profession in Europe. Zurich, Switzerland: Springer.

Hamermesh, D., & Parker, A. (2003). Beauty in the classroom: Professors’ pulchritude and putative pedagogical productivity (NBER Working Paper No. 9853). Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/ papers.cfm?abstract_id=425589 https://www.nber.org/ papers/w9853.pdf

Heffernan, K. (2005). Social work, new public management and the language of “service user.” The British Journal of Social Work, 36(1), 139–147.

Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The managed heart. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Hornstein, H. (2017). Student evaluations of teaching are an inadequate assessment tool for evaluating faculty performance. Cogent Education, 4(1), 13–32.

Johnson, M. M., & Wolfer, T. A. (2001). Methods of evaluating teaching in social work education programs: A national survey. Unpublished raw data.

Kogan, L., Schoenfeld-Tacher, R., & Hellyer, P. (2010). Student evaluations of teaching: perceptions of facility based on gender, position and rank. Teaching in Higher Education, 15(6), 100–123.

Kyriacou, C. (2001). Teacher stress: Directions for future research. Educational Review, 53(3), 27–35.

Power, M. (1999). The audit society: Rituals of verification. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Quinlan, K. M. (2016). How emotion matters in four key relationships in teaching and learning in higher education. College Teaching, 64(3), 101-111.

Schutz, P. A., & Zembylas, M. (Eds.). (2009). Advances in teacher emotion research: The impact on teachers’ lives. New York, NY: Springer.

Sebastian, R. J., & Bristow, D. (2008). Formal or informal? The impact of style of dress and forms of address on business students’ perceptions of professors. Journal of Education for Business, 83(4), 196–201.

Sherman, B. R., & Backburn, R. T. (1975). Personal characteristics and teaching effectiveness of college faculty. Journal of Educational Psychology, 67(2), 241–260.

Soini, T., Pyhältö, K., & Pietarinen, J. (2010). Pedagogical well-being: Reflecting learning and well-being in teachers’ work, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 16(6), 735–751.

Sutton, R. E., & Wheatley, K. F. (2003). Teachers’ emotions and teaching: A review of the literature and directions for future research. Educational Psychology Review, 15(4), 327-358.

Teater, B. (2011). Maximizing student learning: A case example of applying teaching and learning theory in social work education. Social Work Education, 30(5), 571-585.

Wolfer, T., & McNown Johnson, M. (2003). Re-evaluating student evaluation of teaching. Journal of Social Work Education, 39(4), 14–30.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol31iss2id637


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.