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Reflection: How do you give feedback?

“Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement.” 
(Hattie & Timperley, 2007)

Giving students feedback on the quality of their work is a vital aspect of teaching. We can use feedback to encourage students, to offer correction, and to provide guidance for improvement. Feedback can also have a negative impact on students, leaving them feeling disheartened and overwhelmed, or confused about how to proceed.

The following questions can help you reflect on your approach, whether your feedback techniques are working seamlessly for you and your students, or you are looking to hone and refine your strategies. (You may find it easiest to respond to these questions if you ponder them in the context of a specific class you are teaching.)

1. How do you tend to give feedback? By…

  • Asking questions about the work
     
  • Making physical corrections on the work
     
  • Writing suggestions/comments
     
  • Making verbal suggestions/comments:
     
    • One on one
       
    • To groups
       
    • In front of the whole class

2. Where does your feedback most often fall on this spectrum:

positive comments............................................................... constructive criticism/suggestions

  • Does this change depending on the work, the student, or the point in the semester?
     
  • Why/why not? How?

3. How clear, supportive and productive is the language you use when commenting on student work?

  • See examples: Striking a Good Balance in Providing Feedback & Making Suggestions in a Tactful Way

4. What do you tend to give feedback on?

  • Only criteria specified in assignment or rubric
     
  • Whatever seems vital at the time

5. How much feedback do you tend to give?

  • How much detail do you include?
     
  • How many suggestions do you offer?

6. When do you tend to give feedback?

  • Right after the assignment is received, while it’s still fresh in students’ minds.
     
  • Early enough for students to incorporate suggestions into the next project.
     
  • After the final draft is due.

7. What do you expect students to do with your feedback?

  • Take notes
     
  • Incorporate all feedback
     
  • Incorporate feedback as they see fit and explain their choices

After responding to these questions, take a few moments to reflect on how each aspect of your approach may affect your students and their learning. Is there any area in which a different approach might better serve you and your students?

Click here to see a set of slides and short video clips exploring effective teacher feedback from teachers’ and students’ perspectives.

Saving Ideas for Grading & Feedback

Using Rubrics for Grading & Feedback