Giving and Receiving Constructive Criticism

(Recent Workshop at SWM ASL Institute)

Accepting constructive criticism, or feedback, can be one of the most difficult lessons interpreters must learn. Here are several helpful ways to make this process less painful and traumatic.

How to RECEIVE Constructive Criticism

1. Learn to identify constructive criticism. Sometimes you may think a person is trying to hurt you, but he may be simply trying to help in the best way he knows how. Realize that when someone gives you feedback, he probably did not mean it as a personal “attack” or offense.

2. Develop an attitude of excellence to continually improve your skill. Never be satisfied with “good enough,” but willingly accept feedback, even when it is hard to do so.

3. Pro-actively seek feedback. Ask friends, interpreters, and Deaf people for their suggestions and help. But also realize that when you ask, they will give it. Do not be offended, but realize that their comments can help make you better.

4. Immediately apply what you learn. Think about the suggestions and comments. Ask yourself, “How can I change for the next time?” Seek opportunities to try the new way or new information. For example, when you learn a new sign, use it several times the next week.

5. Forgive those who are ignorant of the proper way to share feedback. Sometimes seemingly harsh words are not intended that way. The person may just be trying to help. A good rule of thumb is, “Do not take offense when none is intended!” v More next time: How to wisely GIVE constructive criticism

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