The CPR Instructor's Guide to Giving Constructive Feedback
As a CPR Instructor, it’s your responsibility to create a safe environment for learning. This includes maintaining a friendly atmosphere and encouraging growth by giving constructive feedback.
By skillfully modeling both giving and receiving positive feedback, you set the tone for the entire CPR training class. Students can mimic your approach and provide positive reinforcement to each other during small group practice.
Use Corrective Feedback Throughout the Learning Process
Negative feedback can deter a student’s progress and alter the CPR certification learning environment. Feedback in the form of criticism simply doesn’t work.
To be effective, feedback needs to be constructive with the goal of building up your students, not tearing them down. Constructive feedback should be straightforward and focused on results.
Avoid criticizing the student by saying, “You’re not doing that right.” Instead, take the opportunity to provide constructive feedback that’ll guide the student forward throughout the training session. Identify what isn’t working and then provide possible solutions in an easy-to-understand constructive manner.
For example, let’s say your student is struggling to effectively give rescue breaths with a CPR mask during a skill session. You might say something like, “I noticed you’re having difficulty giving effective breaths. Try lifting the chin upward to open the airway.” Visually reinforce your feedback by demonstrating the correct life-saving technique.
Many times, students will make a common mistake that can be turned into a learning opportunity for the whole class. So, your interactions with one student (whether positive or negative) can easily impact the entire CPR course.
Keep it positive the entire time and reinforce when students are doing great work. If a student is performing well, use it as a teaching moment to highlight high-quality skills.
When done properly and with care, sincerity and respect, constructive feedback fosters reflection, encourages positive change, and inspires a high level of performance.
Be Willing to Receive Constructive Feedback Yourself
If you want to be a great Instructor, then you should always consider yourself a work in progress — focused on providing the best CPR class. Part of that constant development is being able to take feedback calmly and professionally.
Through constructive criticism from students, we learn about our own weaknesses and can take steps to improve problem areas and adjust lesson plans. Even if you don’t agree with the student’s feedback, a simple "thank you” can go a long way in creating trust between you and your students.
If you want to create a great experience that’ll truly prepare your students to confidently respond to real life situations, you must be willing to learn from your students and incorporate student feedback into future CPR and AED training courses.
What have you recently learned from your students? What are you actively working on to improve as a CPR Instructor? Leave a comment below, so we can all learn from each other.
For more information, all of the updated 2020 Guidelines HSI programs include more information on constructive feedback for instructors. Log in to your portal to learn more about HSI’s new programs.