What is feedback?
Feedback is any verbal or written response to a student’s work, to acknowledge the progress students are making to achieve their learning outcomes. Feedback should be constructive and identify how students can improve their learning and achievement.
Why is it important for teachers to provide feedback to students?
Feedback is a very powerful teaching tool and is an essential part of effective learning. All students respond to feedback because it lets students know how well they are going with their learning and assessment activities, and any corrective action to take.
Knowing they are doing well motivates students to learn more, improves their self-esteem and gives them a sense of achievement. Alternatively, if they are not completing their work suitably, they need to know the right way, and learn to do it correctly, through tactful and constructive feedback from the teacher.
The following are important factors when providing feedback:
Specific/Relevant – supply learners with specific information relevant to the task, about exactly what they are doing right or wrong. Tell them what they need to do to improve, or how they have improved since last time.
Immediate – The longer the time between completing the task and receiving feedback, the less effective the feedback will be. Although not always possible in today’s varied learning environments, try and provide feedback immediately, through body language as well as verbal and written. If not possible due to distance or online delivery, try and provide feedback as soon as possible to the student to keep them engaged.
Frequent – Feedback should be given frequently, and in a positive manner, even when trying to correct responses. If possible, during the learning process, the teacher should try to give feedback on each learning task/activity to reinforce the learning or to suggest the correct way of completing the task. If continuous or frequent feedback is not possible, then feedback is important when students have shown an improvement in their work.
In a classroom learning environment, this frequency needs to be balanced, so the student doesn’t feel they are being too closely monitored and become nervous in the teacher’s presence. While it is important for a teacher to monitor students’ performance and provide feedback to the individual, it can be given to the whole learning group, if this is applicable.
By Carolyn Laycock