Whether your confirmation program runs years, weeks, or days, once you’ve presented each class of confirmands to the congregation, it may be easy to think your job is done. But, before you pat yourself on the back and say congratulations to this year’s class, consider one more step to get feedback from your confirmation youth.
Feedback from your students helps you grow as a leader and can help you uncover some new skills, as well as areas to improve. As you gather your feedback, you may wonder what you should be asking and what type of information you should collect. Try these tips for gathering this important information – and for putting it to good use for next year’s confirmation youth.
Online or on paper?
Whether you gather feedback online or in person comes down to personal preference. Handing out a paper survey on the last day of confirmation class will ensure that your students actually fill it out and hand it to you before they leave, but this type of survey is definitely less than anonymous. Even if you don’t require names and have them check answers versus writing out descriptions, you may be able to identify handwriting. Online surveys are easy to make and provide a format today’s youth are comfortable with. The best of both worlds? Letting them take the survey on their phones during class, you’ll maximize the total number of responses.
What should you ask?
Glad you asked! Because confirmation is a faith milestone experience, it deserves some real reflection. Include open-ended questions that encourage thoughtful answers. For example:
- What’s one thing you’ll always remember from confirmation?
- What was your favorite part?
- What was your least favorite part?
- In my opinion, the teacher/leader/pastor is really good at _____.
- If I could give the teacher/leader/pastor one piece of advice, it would be _____.
- What’s one thing that next year’s students should definitely know about confirmation?
- If you could give one piece of advice to next year’s confirmation class, what would it be?
- Overall, do you feel that confirmation class was worthwhile? Why or why not?
It’s one thing to read the surveys, but the real benefit comes from putting the information you receive into action (even if that means you may have to change a few things). After all, if a majority are telling you the snacks need an upgrade, it might be true.
You will likely receive varying opinions, but make a vow to choose three items to act on for next year’s class – then do it. Some feedback may be tough to take – like if they aren’t fans of your teaching style. That’s okay! Give yourself a little breathing room, ask a friend to listen to you teach a lesson, and take the feedback as a way to be more effective at helping youth on their faith formation journeys.
That question about advice for the next year’s class may be the most powerful insight you’ll receive from your confirmation youth. If possible, invite recently confirmed students to come back to talk to next year’s class about what they can expect and how they felt about the process.
It’s a great way to keep youth involved in the life of the church, and they’ll love feeling that their experience is valued. For your students, it’s the perfect way to get the inside scoop from someone who’s been there, and a simple meet-and-greet or panel conversation can do wonders to build community and connections for the youth of your church.
Learn more about engaging confirmation youth and leading effective confirmation classes in our other confirmation related blog posts!