We are learning that the teacher’s English is simply not sufficient for us to be able to give feedback in English and that our other trainee needs to translate for us for the feedback to be effective. It is a steep learning curve for us all; Van enjoys feedback and constructive criticism and feels it should be done as soon as the activity is over so that the information is still fresh. I understand this feeling; while I agree that keeping it fresh is important, I also feel that the second trainee has a delicate disposition. It is this disposition which makes him a natural teacher, but which makes him vulnerable to too much feedback.
Gauging the atmosphere and feeling of the young teachers is a fine art. Later that day, we felt that some feedback could be tolerated so we plunged in; showing videos and explaining the accompanying feelings. The problem is that our second trainee seems to take feedback personally; he is something of a burden to his large family and he has been trained to feel like his thoughts do not matter and he is a waste unless he is working and bringing in income. Feedback needs to be handled carefully where this gentle soul is concerned as too much negativity will be seen as personal and might break his shy, isolated spirit. We must progress slowly so that we don’t do more harm than good.
NEH Director of Studies and Teacher Trainer