English at University

Intermediate level

15 - Feedback

Episode 161219 / 19 Dec 2016

15 - Feedback

Mary's in Professor Not's office today to get feedback on her work. Will she be happy with the grade she's been given or is it a case of 'could do better'?

Language focus

Giving and getting feedback

Giving feedback is supposed to be a positive and useful experience but Professor Not seems to have gone too far by using these phrases…

  • Work is average.
  • Needs to work on expressing ideas more clearly.
  • I'm a bit concerned about your progress.
  • A little wet behind the ears.

Mary stood her ground with these phrases…

  • I feel I have put in 100 per cent effort this term.
  • I find your comments a bit harsh.
  • What evidence do you have for your feedback?

Vocabulary

Words and phrases used in this episode for agreeing and disagreeing

  • I concur
  • I beg to differ
  • to see eye-to-eye
  • I couldn't agree more
  • agree to disagree

Transcript

Narrator
Welcome back to English at University – the series that teaches some English phrases to help you through your first year at university. It's almost the end of Mary's first term at the University of Studies. She's settled in well and made some new friends but today's the day to find out how well her studying's going when she gets some feedback from Professor Not.

Prof. Not
Hello Mary. Take a seat… no, I mean sit down. So let's review your progress this term. How's it been?

Mary
I think it's been…

Sharon
Sorry to interrupt. There's your tea… biscuits… I got you those chocolate ones you like … and the files you asked for… and I got those tickets for the show tonight OK?

Prof. Not
Err. Thank you Sharon. Could you errr… file those away for me please?

Sharon
Righty-ho.

Prof. Not
Now where was I? Ah yes – your term so far. How's it been?

Mary
Well. Very good… I think. I was a little homesick but everyone's been so supportive, especially Sharon.

Prof.Not

Oh yes, I concur, she's a real brick! Well that's good to hear. I know you've had to adapt to our strange British ways… and that might explain some of these notes I've written about you. Work – average, needs to work on expressing ideas more clearly… I'm a bit concerned about progress, maybe a little wet behind the ears… goodness, did I really write that?

Narrator
I beg to differ Mary – I mean I don't agree. He can't be talking about you! I think you need to offer some feedback on his feedback and get him to see eye-to-eye with you.

Mary
I can't do that. He's the professor.

Narrator
He may be in charge but he's not always right. You are entitled to say 'I find your comments  a bit harsh', 'I feel I have put in 100 per cent effort this term' and 'what evidence do you have for your feedback?'. Try that and make it clear you think he's wrong – but be polite.

Mary
It won't be easy but I'll try. Professor Not… I like you.

Prof. Not
Oh thank you.

Mary
I mean you are a good teacher and have been very helpful. As you know I feel I have put in 100 per cent effort this term…

Prof. Not
I couldn't agree more.

Mary
So I find your comments a bit harsh and a little unfair. I mean, what evidence do you have for your feedback?

Prof. Not
Err well… let's look at the mark for your assignment… shall we? It says here D minus. Hmm, is that right?

Mary
D minus! No it can't be… I worked so hard… and…

Sharon
Sorry, more biscuits… what's going on and why is Mary crying? Robert, what have you done? Come on Mary, I'll make you a nice cup of tea.

Narrator
Oh dear. This feedback session hasn't gone to plan. Giving feedback is supposed to be a positive and useful experience but Professor Not seems to have gone too far by using these phrases…

Work is average.
Needs to work on expressing ideas more clearly.
I'm a bit concerned about your progress.
A little wet behind the ears.

But Mary stood her ground with these phrases…

I feel I have put in 100 per cent effort this term.
I find your comments a bit harsh.
What evidence do you have for your feedback?

You can practise these phrases, pick up a few more plus learn some top tips for studying in the UK on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. Now, let's hope Sharon can explain Professor Not's comments and make him see sense.

Sharon
There's your tea. I know Robert... I mean Professor Not had a late night last night, maybe he got confused? Can you not just agree to disagree? Now let's have a look at these files… oh dear…

Mary
What is it Sharon?

Sharon
I seem to have given him the wrong file. He was reading the comments he'd written for Daniel Smythe. Ooopps.

Daniel
Hello you two. Time for my feedback session with the old Prof. Can't wait to hear all the great things he's got to say about me. It's been such a brilliant term.

Sharon
Errr… you'd better go in.

More

If you're studying abroad and need help with your English, we have lots to offer on our BBC Learning English website.

Look at this BBC guide to studying smartly.

Here are some more BBC Learning English tips for giving feedback.

Here's another BBC Learning English drama called English at Work about giving feedback.

Next

The first term has finished and the Christmas holidays are about to begin. The students at the University of Studies are busy preparing to go home, except for Mary who's stuck in the UK. Luckily Abi has a plan!

Latest English at University

  • 18 - Emergency

    18 - Emergency

    Episode 170116 / 16 Jan 2017

    Term's getting under way - and Mary is stressed! Does Abi have a solution so they can both chillax and take a break?

  • 17 - Take note

    17 - Take note

    Episode 170109 / 09 Jan 2017

    Term starts again at the University of Studies and Mary's struggling in Professor Not's lecture. Will she be able to keep up?

  • 16 - A home from home

    16 - A home from home

    Episode 161223 / 23 Dec 2016

    The first term is over at the University of Studies. All the students are packing up and heading home for the holidays – all except Mary that is! Where will she be spending the Christmas holidays?

  • 15 - Feedback

    15 - Feedback

    Episode 161219 / 19 Dec 2016

    It's almost the end of term and time for Mary to get her feedback from Professor Not. Will she be happy with what he's got to say?

  • 14 - Lost property

    14 - Lost property

    Episode 161212 / 12 Dec 2016

    Mary's got to hand in her assignment, but her memory stick has gone missing. Will she find it at the Lost Property office?

  • 13 - Deadlines

    13 - Deadlines

    Episode 161205 / 05 Dec 2016

    Mary's got an important deadline fast approaching. Will she finish her work on time?

  • 12 - Reboot!

    12 - Reboot!

    Episode 161128 / 28 Nov 2016

    Mary has to deal with a crisis when she accidentally loses her assignment

  • 11 - Study skills

    11 - Study skills

    Episode 161121 / 21 Nov 2016

    Mary attends Professor Not's study skills workshop but it sounds like she knows more about studying than him!

  • 10 - Getting down to business

    10 - Getting down to business

    Episode 161114 / 14 Nov 2016

    Finally, Mary starts to learn something about business - and how to ask for clarification

  • Episode 9 - Dinner time

    Episode 9 - Dinner time

    Episode 161107 / 07 Nov 2016

    Mary's feeling hungry

  • Episode 8 - The Library

    Episode 8 - The Library

    Episode 161031 / 31 Oct 2016

    Mary needs to borrow some books

  • Episode 7 - The Seminar

    Episode 7 - The Seminar

    Episode 161024 / 24 Oct 2016

    It's time for Mary's first seminar

  • Episode 6 - Lectures begin

    Episode 6 - Lectures begin

    Episode 161017 / 17 Oct 2016

    Mary's studying can finally begin

  • Episode 5 - Registration

    Episode 5 - Registration

    Episode 161010 / 10 Oct 2016

    Before Mary's lectures finally begin there's some paperwork to do

  • Episode 4 - Freshers' Week

    Episode 4 - Freshers' Week

    Episode 161003 / 03 Oct 2016

    There's an important event Mary can't miss

  • Episode 3 - Roommate

    Episode 3 - Roommate

    Episode 160929 / 29 Sep 2016

    Mary finds her new room and gets a big surprise

  • Episode 2 - Just landed

    Episode 2 - Just landed

    Episode 160926 / 26 Sep 2016

    Mary arrives in the UK but can't find her way to the university

  • Episode 1 - Leaving Home

    Episode 1 - Leaving Home

    Episode 160921 / 22 Sep 2016

    Mary leaves home to start her first year of study abroad