Written by & under Staff Management.

As you know, quality in your studio depends a lot on the quality of your teachers.

One way your studio can rise above the competition:

Provide a positive and successful environment for your instructors – help them do their best on your behalf.

It’s a fact: Word of mouth referral goes a long way towards expanding your business. If students tell others about good experiences, the studio sells itself.

Knowing more about your staff’s strengths helps document successes. It can give you new ways to identify, recognize and encourage the best teaching approaches across your entire business.

Here are six tips to help evaluate your instructors in a positive way. This sort of information can be useful to you as a studio owner or manager, regardless of the focus of your teaching studio.

Study Areas

Studio Helper is a leading edge tool supporting this type of communication with students, parents and teachers. These tips and Studio Helper can give you a way to measure and track your success.

1. Keep it simple and straightforward.

Use a simple questionnaire, checking only the most general information. Short forms are most likely to be completed.

The web provides some great free tools for gathering information. Two that are easily available are surveymonkey.com and www.polldaddy.com. Getting the survey to your target audience is as simple as including a link in an email.

2. Measure accurately.

For valid results, use statements that assign a rating:

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Another way to get this information (perhaps better suited for online forms):

Question #1: The zoo is a place where animals are kept

a. Strongly agree
b. Agree
c. Neither agree nor disagree
d. Disagree
e. Strongly disagree
f. Does not apply

Here are sample questions that might work on a student questionnaire:

  • My teacher clearly shows me what to practice.
  • My teacher helps me know how to practice.
  • I feel my teacher helps me improve.
  • Class always begins on time.
  • When I don’t understand, my teacher helps me by presenting ideas in other ways.

Questions that might apply to a parent questionnaire:

  • I am kept informed well of my child’s progress.
  • I know schedule information well in advance.
  • Class always ends at the scheduled time.
  • I am welcome to attend any class or lesson.
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Of course, if you are using a comprehensive tracking and communication tool like Studio Helper, the only reason for not knowing about items [a] and [b] is that the parent hasn’t logged on to check status or they are ignoring emails!

Looking at the questions above, can you see how “checking for positive issues” need not be threatening to instructors?

Instead, these questions focus on gathering feedback so teachers can think about ways to improve and be more successful. It also helps parents and students feel they have a voice, that someone is interested in their opinions.

Remember, look for the good, note areas where coaching or mentoring might help.

3. Give them a reason to participate.

Provide an incentive for students and/or parents to complete the questionnaire. This may take a bit of thinking on your part.

A discount on tuition could raise response rate. For the kids, arrange an ice cream party or some other celebration if they respond. Whatever works for you, give it a try.

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Anonymity is important for comfort levels:

Stress that any information will only be shared with a teacher in an average way, individual responses are completely confidential.

4. Track results.

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Compare results across a period of time (say three times a year). Don’t view results from a single data set as a strong indicators.

Remember, a small response pool can give single voices a very large impact. In that case, individual ratings can assume a strong bias towards positive or negative. The more responses you get, the more valuable the information.

5. Share the good news.

Visibly recognize and reward teachers who show significant improvement over time. It’s a great way to encourage others to think about “how they do what they do.” Movie tickets, certificates, posting the “teacher of the quarter” names on your web site – each of these can help boost morale.

6. Prepare before you start measuring.

Present the concept of evaluation to your teachers in a carefully planned way. A team meeting is an excellent time to introduce the idea. If you have a questionnaire prepared before the meeting, sharing it with them during the meeting can help defuse any worry about “being judged.” What you’re doing, after all, is building the best possible team.

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It’s also good to ask for teacher input and ideas, giving them a sense of ownership and participation in the process. Getting ideas from small groups while you are outside of the room probably leads to the best sort of response.

Closing thoughts:

So you decide to try this out. Awesome. Just remember that when it comes to teacher assessment:

  1. Any questionnaire should have no more than 4-5 items.
  2. Put your contact information on the form (email for online formats), it gives anyone filling it out a chance to get in touch with you about other thoughts or issues.
  3. Transition gently into regular assessment in a very positive way. Your teachers should know the information affects neither pay nor status. It’s a chance for them to get feedback that improves their ability to help students succeed.

These tips can help your studio improve a lot over time. That should be the goal – developing the best possible environment for your students and teachers.

HandInHand

With Studio Helper as a communication tool and thoughtful data collection for feedback, the circle of success is complete.

Checking the pulse of your studio helps everybody!