being a class rep
Congratulations on becoming a class rep!
This is an important role for your classmates and tutors and can be extremely rewarding.
The Class Rep Cycle
Example Class Rep Tasks
|Gathering feedback: collecting student views and opinions
- Listening to classmates, especially those with different experience to yours.
- Encouraging classmates to share their views and finding ways to help them express their opinions.
|Acting on feedback: communicating views and working towards solutions
- Summarising feedback into a helpful and usable form and presenting it to staff.
- Working with staff to tackle issues and develop solutions.
- Attending student-staff committee meetings to present the views of classmates.
|Reporting back: informing students about the outcomes
- Reporting back to classmates on the outcomes of their feedback.
- Reporting back to other class reps to identify common themes.
- Reporting back to the students’ association at class rep meetings.
|Other responsibilities and tasks
- Completing training and induction events (such as this online module!).
- Engaging with the students’ association on an ongoing basis, passing on relevant information or issues.
One of the most important roles of a class rep is to be visible to your classmates. They must be able to find you. This includes being available online, so that classmates can reach you by email, the Your Voice Teams Channel, through WhatsApp, on the course VLE, or in some similar way. It is a good idea to introduce yourself to your class, explaining that you are their representative. You can find a template below that you can use. Explain that you are there to help gather students’ opinions about the course, and you will communicate their feedback to staff so that everyone in the class can have the best possible learning experience.
The Class Rep
Example Class Rep Tasks
How can a rep perform their role effectively?
What skills do they need?
Listening (to classmates and to staff).
Communication (speaking, writing, presenting).
Building relationships (with students and staff).
Project management (giving sufficient attention to the various aspects of the work).
Critical analysis (understanding how decisions and impacts are affected by several factors).
Diplomacy (communicating carefully, to keep relationships positive).
Negotiation (being clear about your message, whilst listening to the perspectives of others).
Research (making sure you understand the wider picture).
Self-reflection (for own learning and working to develop own skills).
Time management (prioritising what is important and judging when to stop).
* Don’t worry if you lack some of these skills. One of the benefits of taking new roles is that you will learn new skills whilst you are doing it. Many of these will be transferable skills that will help you in your future life and work.
Communicating with Students
The diagram below summarises seven interconnected elements of the Student Learning Experience (SLE). As a student and a class rep, you are an expert in the SLE!
All seven elements contribute to the quality of a student’s learning experience. When you collect feedback from classmates, and when you report these opinions to Year Coordinators or the Student Union, the comments will usually fall into one or more of these areas.
The SLE model:
- Helps reps gather and organise feedback.
- Is a guide to help you know which student comments are relevant to you as a rep.
- You will hear this terminology in meetings at colleges and universities.
Which topics fall outside the role of the class rep?
You will represent your classmates in matters relating to the Student Learning Experience (SLE). At times, you may receive enquiries that are not related to the learning experience, for example, questions about financial matters, accommodation, disciplinary matters, interpersonal or social issues, and so on. These areas fall outside your role as a class rep and you should guide them to our Advice Hub.(hyperlink)
Using the SLE to gather and organise student opinions
Some areas of the SLE model are easier to understand than others. For example, if a classmate gave you some feedback about the course content, or textbooks, or exams, you would probably spot that these points are related to curriculum, learning resources and assessment. But what about the other areas, such as ‘progression and achievement’ and ‘quality enhancement’? Those areas might be harder to describe. When you gather opinions from your classmates, the questions you ask are likely to relate to one or more areas of the SLE. Click here to get a list of questions that will help class reps gather information from classmates.
Closing the feedback loop
Some of the ways of reporting back to your class are similar to the methods for collecting opinions. Here are some suggestions:
- Speaking to the class, periodically.
- Group emails.
- A message board in the VLE.
- Your Voice Teams Channel or similar tools.
Top tip! The method you choose usually doesn’t matter - the important thing is that you do report back to your classmates. And make sure you also communicate separately with classmates who might not have regular access to your chosen method.
Communicating with staff
You should f feedback from classmates. That feedback won’t always be positive, and some will highlight difficulties that need addressing. Using the ABCD feedback tool will help ensure that the feedback can be understood and used.
This is about being truthful and giving sufficient information. Be specific, explain clearly, and give evidence to support what you are saying.
Which parts of the course are affected?
- How many students does the issue affect?
- When did this difficulty start?
||This is about giving positive feedback, and not just complaining. You may receive negative feedback more frequently, but it is equally important to emphasise the parts of the course that are good. This will help you to develop a good working relationship with staff and may help them remain open to your suggestions.
||This is about helping to find solutions to the difficulties raised. You and your classmates are experts - you understand your learning experience best - so you may generate solutions that staff haven't thought of.
||This is about being tactful. Critical feedback does not have to blame individuals, and it may not be necessary to name them at all. This can be hard but is a skill that effective class reps must learn. Focus on the learning of your class, not on the actions of your tutor. And as above, you may be able to offset negative feedback with some positive comments, so they are better received.
Meetings with staff
This is the time for you to act on feedback. Class reps attend meetings usually within your course, department or school. Click here to view a table that lists some actions for class reps to take before, during and after meetings, to ensure that the discussions bring benefit to students and that your classmates have their opinions heard.