Giving comprehensive and effective feedback to students is central to their learning. Giving input is only one of the numerous employments that educators do to help and pilot students onto the way of accomplishment. However, educators generally see feedback more in terms of how much they give than the more important consideration of how much feedback is received by students.
Feedback is important because it can give a better picture of how a student is doing rather than mere grades on a paper. Feedback can be made more effective and student oriented through these points:
- Focus on the Flipside- Feedback is never just about the gaps or the negative areas. It should always include the positives and encourage students by telling them that they’re on the right track. So the idea of giving positive feedback is to familiarise students with our expectations such that they can adopt the criteria for themselves in the same way. Errors need to be welcomed too, as they are exciting, they indicate a tension between what we now know and what we could know, they are signs of opportunities to
- Comparison Kills- Feedback should focus on students’ individual progress and improvement rather than comparing them to their classmates, batch mates or anyone else. Because this sort of comparison among students can reduce their motivation, self-confidence, academic performance and lead to anxiety and depression, as every individual has their own skills and strengths.
- ‘Just for Me’ Feedback- Phrases such as, “Good Job” or “Nice Work”, being used repeatedly over time become meaningless and drab. So it is better to be specific while giving feedback and point exactly what about it was good. An interesting way of doing this is by creating holistic and analytical rubrics for all assessments, be it homework, classwork, maintenance of notebooks, participation in class activities or anything else. Infact, a mere phone call at times to the child’s parents to let them know about the child’s progress while talking about specific incidents, goes a long way in motivating the child and in keeping the child focussed. David Carless in 2006 has shown through his research that most feedback given by teachers is to the whole class and most of this is not received by any student because no single student believes that it pertains to him/her.
- Encourage Self and Peer Review- Felicitating students to reflect upon their own assignments and analyse them using the learning intentions and criteria for success shared earlier, improves their understanding of the assessment criteria, which acts as a catalyst in improving the assignment quality with time.
This is only suitable for older students who are experienced and have the eye for looking critically at their own work. So creating more opportunities for self and peer review can increase the frequency of feedback to students without the added burden on the educator.
- Offering Useful and ‘Just in-Time’ Verbal Feedback- Verbal feedback is effective as it can be in the form of a dialogue wherein the educator explains the gaps and then discusses the various ways and means of filling those gaps. Also, as soon as the students finish the given tasks, don’t wait for hours, days or weeks to talk to the students and provide feedback. Adding on, respecting your students’ privacy by choosing a quiet space for providing feedback is essential especially while giving constructive
Providing good quality feedback is imperative as it is used to bridge the gap between prior and current achievement of students and one can never underestimate the power of feedback in the learning process.