How to Give Negative Feedback to a Professor

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A person encounters many fantastic teachers as well as some unsuitable teachers in life as a student. Many students complain among their friend circle and gossip about the shortcomings of a teacher. Sometimes they are infuriated by the teacher’s behavior or teaching method.

But none of the gossips and anger solves the problem. This is when giving feedback comes into the role. Giving feedback to a person about his or her work is nothing short of an art. Feedback delivered in the right manner can produce amazing positive changes.

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Wondering What is Feedback?

In simple language, feedback is the reaction to someone’s action given either in a formal or casual way. Feedback can be a way of praising something or a way to suggest improvements. Therefore, feedback can be positive or negative.

Feedback can show gratitude or dissatisfaction. Feedback is important in any organization for ensuring the satisfaction of all the members. Positive feedback coming from the members encourages the management team.

As a student, you can use feedback as a way to reach out to the administration of your college or school.

Feedback and Criticism

An important thing to note is that negative feedback is not the same as criticism. Both of them are similar, but they are still miles apart. Whenever you criticize something, you evaluate the issue, find the fault, and bash the mistake maker.

Negative feedback involves evaluation, pinpointing the fault and possible corrective actions. Feedback is more formal and respectful whereas criticism can be seen as an offensive tool.

So, when it comes to telling your professor about his or her shortcomings, always give feedback. In fact, use feedback instead of criticism as much as possible. Giving feedback makes you polite, and the receiver feels respected. While criticism can be bitter and offensive for the receiver.

Importance of Giving Feedback to Your Professors

Like any organization, feedback is important in an educational system. Giving proper feedback to your professor from time to time can do wonders. Sometimes teaching becomes a boring task for professors too.

Just doing a job for money cannot keep someone motivated. Positive feedback or praise from students encourages a professor to teach even more energetically. A student can give this feedback intentionally or unintentionally. Word of praise is a crucial motivator for everyone.

Giving negative feedback to professors, if required, is crucial too. Sometimes a teacher may be teaching too fast, or his teaching method may not be working for students.

It becomes important to tell your professor about these issues as his disciple. Communication is always the key. Negative feedback delivered constructively is very effective. They can enlighten your teacher about the amendments needed.

Giving Negative Feedback to a Professor Properly

Since professors are your elders and more knowledgeable and experienced than you, giving negative feedback to them can be scary. But everyone needs improvements once in a while. Therefore, a student has to understand the responsibility of suggesting improvements to improve the quality of studies.

Follow these tips to give constructive feedback to your professor:

Give Feedback Timely

Observe if the issue is serious and lasts long. Do not rush to report the problem to your professor. The problem can be because of the short-term circumstances of the professor’s life.

They can disappear in a few days. Also, waiting too long to give feedback is unfavorable too. Observe the issue, wait for some time, and see if it goes away. If the problem keeps getting worse or unbearable, then you will know that it is time to talk to your professor.

Approach Him Face to Face

Many people will suggest you to just email your professor in a respectful style. This is not a great way. Talking to your teacher directly will make the situation more comfortable for him. If the issue is serious, then never text or email. A respectful meeting is the best option.

Give Feedback Alone

Talk to your professor during free time and when there are no or just a few people around. This will make him or her more approachable. Also, the professor will be friendlier and he will not feel awkward or offended. Talking personally will allow much better communication.

Don’t Sugar-Coat

Once you have decided to have a talk, then being honest is better. Sugar coating is not necessary for making the situation less awkward. Being respectful and honest is the right way.

Being honest will enhance your image and your professor may even be impressed. An impressed person will listen and accept suggestions more nicely.

Feedback not Criticism

As discussed earlier, try saying things positively. It does not mean sugar coating. Be honest but weave your sentences positively. For example- “Sir, we are not able to catch up. We learn better when you teach a little slower” is better than “Sir, you are going too fast.

It is not working at all.” See the difference? There are honesty and positivity in the first sentence. It is very respectful and suggestive. It is feedback.

The second statement is a blatant criticism with no solution suggested. Such a statement can be offensive. Understanding this difference is the key to giving better feedback to anyone.

Giving Feedback as a Group

When giving feedback as a group or class, choose a representative who is close and friendly to the professor. This representative will talk to the professor on behalf of the group.

This opens the door for better conversation and higher acceptance of the suggestions. The whole feedback process can go smooth and conflict-free this way.


The main art of giving feedback lies in looking through the receiver’s perspective. Understanding your professor is the first step for talking to him constructively. Being honest and respectful will help you deliver your feelings without hurting your professor.

And after the issue is solved, you will have a better relationship with your professor. He will respect you for suggesting improvements and you will respect him for hearing you out.

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