Feedback Makes Me Squirm

I have been onBute Park, Cardiff strike today – I may even get on the telly (see if you can spot me in this tweet). I was on strike yesterday but the weather was cold!!! Today it was warm and sunny – perfect for a trip around Bute Park (pictured left) after the picket-line.

I found a shaded spot and finally summoned up the courage to open an email my supor (this is a truncation of ‘supervisor’ – a bad habit I’m getting from my kids, see this tweet for another one, i.e. #mobent). My supor is a very approachable person but I’d been avoiding their email for days. This time, the email did not contain any feedback – phew!

I am not proud of the fact that even the thought of a message containing feedback makes me squirm, even though it is exactly what I need. It’s ironic really, as I’m a lecturer for the day-job…, ie. someone who is entirely unafraid of dishing out feedback. Thus, if I ever do get over this phobia I promise to nail a little bit of it into the part of my brain that deals with marking.

Back to the phobia. I am really not sure what it going on. Is it related to ‘impostor syndrome‘?  Unlikely, that only applies to ‘high achieving individuals’. I usually blame this kind of thing on being the youngest kid of five siblings… Probably that’s not it this time. Is it something to do with the sheer challenge feedback could drive into my plans and the subsequent work it will involve? Or is it the naked, didactic text that begs questions I can’t answer or to which I have no means/right of reply…

All this leaves me thinking: Does anyone else get this and, if so, what have you done about it?

(Mike is in Cohort 7 of the PhD in Technology Enhanced Learning and E-Research and blogs occasionally at


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