Feedback & Evaluation

You, as a supervisor-mentor, learn how to supervise others by reflecting upon your own experiences of being supervised and through the practice of supervision.  As you begin this module, we invite you to do just that as we suggest a variety of options.  You may not agree with all of these ideas or you may find that they do not fit your own supervisory style.  Our beliefs about how to best offer feedback are deeply rooted in our own experiences, especially experiences with our most common feedback-providers: parents, teachers, and bosses.

Video: Dr. Sarah Drummond, “Assessment in Theological Field Education”


The vignettes below are offered to foster your reflection process.  Do any of them sound familiar?  What does this suggest to you about your own posture as a supervisor-mentor who will provide feedback and evaluation?

Your parents never had much that was positive to say about you or your accomplishments growing up.  They were quick to critique, slow to praise.  As a consequence, you became a parent who was generous with praise for your own children, and tend to do the same when in a supervisory role.  You associate praise with unconditional love.
Seminary was three years of reading a lot of books, listening to amazing lectures, and arguing about theological matters over coffee with your friends after class.  Your two internships, in a local church and social service agency, respectively, were “sink or swim” experiences.  You don’t recall being given any guidance before assuming your responsibilities and instead just had to make things up as you went along.  At the end, all you remember is that your supervisors wrote nice reports for the school.  After graduation, you got a job as a solo pastor and so the same sink-or-swim pattern repeated itself.  You always wished you had had a mentor to show you the ropes.
Today, “Nice sermon, Pastor” is the most common piece of feedback you receive.  While you are gratified that your parishioners think well of your preaching, you often yearn to hear something more specific.  Did your listeners get the message you were trying to communicate?  Did your sermon leave them thinking differently about the gospel, or about their lives?
You had a close relationship with your own internship supervisor when you were in seminary.  In fact the two of you became more like colleagues and even friends than intern and supervisor.  Your supervisor always asked you about your feelings and your conversations were intense.  Sometimes your supervisor shared her own feelings and seemed to cross a boundary so that you felt you had to take care of her.

Next: Types of Listening Responses