Providing Feedback

Worthwhile feedback is essential for improved achievement. However, it's much harder than it sounds. As educators, all too often we say, good for you, well done, add some more detail, I liked the way you..........  You get my point.

Instead of this, ask yourself, what will push the student forward to improve in a specific area?  Look at the student work and ask yourself some of these questions:

1. What is missing?
2. What one thing would improve this work?
3. Is there something incomplete?
4. Do you note any carelessness?
5. What is disappointing about it?

When you ask these questions, your answers will give you some areas to provide feedback on. Let's try an example.

A kindergarten child provides you with a picture of a boat.

You say to the child, how does your boat move? How does your boat stop? I don't think I would want to have a ride on your boat until I know what makes it go and what makes it stop.

The child then takes this 'feedback' to add perhaps a motor or sails and an anchor. You have made the child 'think' or stretch his/her 'thinking'.

Let's say a child brings you a story. Each name in the story is missing a capital letter. Your feedback is, when do we use capital letters? Can you look over your work now and see if you can improve it?

I like to use the up, down, up approach. Find something good, find something that needs improvement, say something positive.

This is a very quick glympse about providing effective feedback. As time moves on, you'll want to track the feedback you have provided the learner with to ensure they are responding to the feedback.