Thursday, June 25, 2015

Workshop feedback

For the last 4 days I've been putting data from every survey from every workshop at NATC 2015.  All the numbers, all the comments, all the :) :) :) (yeah, you know who you are).  Anyways, I had a couple of thoughts:

1) I wonder how the numbers would change if people couldn't tell who was teaching them.  It's practically impossible, unless you cover the instructor in a monkey suit and disguise their voice.  But would that change the feedback given?

When you're taking a workshop from one of the "Classics" as many like to be called - people that have played for decades, founded groups, been at the forefront of the taiko movement - it's easy to be awestruck, especially if you're new to taiko.  If someone gives all 5s (the highest on a 1-5 scale), it's not to say the person didn't really receive an all-5 experience, but the skeptic in me thinks back to the monkey suit...if they didn't know who was teaching them, would they have given such high marks?

2.) It's also really interesting when people are asking for the exact opposite thing in the same workshop.  "Speed up the pace" here, "slow down the pace" there.  What's an instructor to do?  This is always a hard thing and there's no *right* solution.

3.) The one thing that's hard on both students and teachers is room size.  This is one of those things that sometimes can't be helped.  Last-minute room changes, workshops requiring a lot of room to move, odaiko workshops, workshops with lots of participants, etc.  NATC is rarely in a venue where they have the pick of all the rooms possible, or where they can choose rooms big enough to accommodate everyone easily.  The only solutions I can think of are to A) limit all but a few workshops to less people, which means workshops fill up quicker and some people are left with few choices and/or B) have more workshop leaders which means a lot more expense for the TCA.  The former will just mean people are still upset but for a different reason, and the latter just isn't feasible.  Back where we started!  Hmm...this one will probably stay tricky for a while...


As someone who believes that data like this helps make NATC better, I appreciate when people give their feedback in this way, even when it is in awed tones.  I believe instructors want to get better, that workshops can get better, that NATC has a lot of potential, and that all benefit from the data you and I give them.


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