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Open Access Research article

Qualitative study about the ways teachers react to feedback from resident evaluations

Thea van Roermund1*, Marie-Louise Schreurs2, Henk Mokkink3, Ben Bottema4, Albert Scherpbier5 and Chris van Weel67

Author Affiliations

1 Department Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Route number 166, Postbus 9101, Nijmegen 6500HB, the Netherlands

2 Institute for Medical Education, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

3 Department Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Post Graduate Training for Family Medicine, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

4 Department Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Post Graduate Training for Family Medicine, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

5 Dean Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

6 Department Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

7 Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:98  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-98

Published: 16 July 2013

Abstract

Background

Currently, one of the main interventions that are widely expected to contribute to teachers’ professional development is confronting teachers with feedback from resident evaluations of their teaching performance. Receiving feedback, however, is a double edged sword. Teachers see themselves confronted with information about themselves and are, at the same time, expected to be role models in the way they respond to feedback. Knowledge about the teachers’ responses could be not only of benefit for their professional development, but also for supporting their role modeling. Therefore, research about professional development should include the way teachers respond to feedback.

Method

We designed a qualitative study with semi-structured individual conversations about feedback reports, gained from resident evaluations. Two researchers carried out a systematic analysis using qualitative research software. The analysis focused on what happened in the conversations and structured the data in three main themes: conversation process, acceptance and coping strategies.

Results

The result section describes the conversation patterns and atmosphere. Teachers accepted their results calmly, stating that, although they recognised some points of interest, they could not meet with every standard. Most used coping strategies were explaining the results from their personal beliefs about good teaching and attributing poor results to external factors and good results to themselves. However, some teachers admitted that they had poor results because of the fact that they were not “sharp enough” in their resident group, implying that they did not do their best.

Conclusions

Our study not only confirms that the effects of feedback depend first and foremost on the recipient but also enlightens the meaning and role of acceptance and being a role model. We think that the results justify the conclusion that teachers who are responsible for the day release programmes in the three departments tend to respond to the evaluation results just like human beings do and, at the time of the conversation, are initially not aware of the fact that they are role models in the way they respond to feedback.

Keywords:
Teachers; Professional development; Feedback; Role modeling