Giving Student Feedback: 20 Tips To Do It Right

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June 11th, 2013 55 Comments Features

Giving student feedback

It seems as if it was yesterday that I was a young middle school student giving a class presentation on the lifespan of the killer whale. While I was prepared, I was also horribly nervous. At the conclusion of my speech I was given verbal student feedback from my teacher–in front of the entire class! Needless to say, it wasn’t glowing. I remember that feedback to this day because it was negative, defeating and very embarrassing.

Despite all of my hard work, my seventh grade teacher ripped my presentation into shreds. I understand now that the teacher was trying to hone my presentation skills, but did he have to do it in front of the entire seventh grade science class? Let’s just say that my speech delivery skills weren’t up to par and because of this experience, I stumbled through many public speeches for a long time afterward. It really is amazing I went on to become a teacher.

As teachers, it is essential that we make the process of providing feedback a positive, or at least a neutral, learning experience for the student.

Unfortunately, many students have similar “educational” experiences like mine everyday. Why is it that some teachers think that giving feedback must be negative and corrective because that is the only way a student will learn? The only thing I learned from my seventh grade experience was that public speaking, no matter how much I prepared, was bound to be a disaster.

As teachers, it is essential that we make the process of providing feedback a positive, or at least a neutral, learning experience for the student.

So what exactly is feedback? Feedback is any response from a teacher in regard to a student’s performance or behavior. It can be verbal, written or gestural. The purpose of feedback in the learning process is to improve a student’s performance- definitely not put a damper on it. The ultimate goal of feedback is to provide students with an “I can do this” attitude.

Sometimes We Have To Dig Deep

When feedback is predominately negative, studies have shown that it can discourage student effort and achievement (Hattie & Timperley, 2007, Dinham). Like my experience, the only thing I knew is that I hated public speaking and I would do anything possible to get out of it. As a teacher, most of the time it is easy to give encouraging, positive feedback.

However, it is in the other times that we have to dig deep to find an appropriate feedback response that will not discourage a student’s learning. This is where the good teachers, the ones students remember forever in a positive light, separate themselves from the others.

A teacher has the distinct responsibility to nurture a student’s learning and to provide feedback in such a manner that the student does not leave the classroom feeling defeated. Here you will find 20 ideas and techniques on how to give effective feedback that will leave your students with the feeling they can conquer the world.

20 Ways to Provide Effective Student Feedback

1. Student feedback should be educative in nature.

Providing feedback means giving students an explanation of what they are doing correctly AND incorrectly. However, the focus of the feedback should be based essentially on what the students is doing right. It is most productive to a student’s learning when they are provided with an explanation and example as to what is accurate and inaccurate about their work.

Use the concept of a “feedback sandwich” to guide your feedback: Compliment, Correct, Compliment.

2. Student feedback should be given in a timely manner.

When student feedback is given immediately after showing proof of learning, the student responds positively and remembers the experience about what is being learned in a confident manner. If we wait too long to give feedback, the moment is lost and the student might not connect the feedback with the action.

3. Be sensitive to the individual needs of the student.

It is vital that we take into consideration each individual when giving student feedback. Our classrooms are full of diverse learners. Some students need to be nudged to achieve at a higher level and other needs to be handled very gently so as not to discourage learning and damage self-esteem. A balance between not wanting to hurt a student’s feelings and providing proper encouragement is essential.

4. Ask the 4 questions.

Studies of effective teaching and learning (Dinham, 2002, 2007a; 2007b) have shown that learners want to know where they stand in regards to their work. Providing answers to the following four questions on a regular basis will help provide quality student feedback. These four questions are also helpful when providing feedback to parents:

  • What can the student do?
  • What can’t the student do?
  • How does the student’s work compare with that of others?
  • How can the student do better?

5. Student feedback should reference a skill or specific knowledge.

This is when rubrics become a useful tool. A rubric is an instrument to communicate expectations for an assignment. Effective rubrics provide students with very specific information about their performance, comparative to an established range of standards. For younger students, try highlighting rubric items that the student is meeting or try using a sticker chart.

6. Give feedback to keep students “on target” for achievement.

Regular ‘check-ins’ with students lets them know where they stand in the classroom and with you. Utilize the ‘4 questions’ to guide your feedback.

7. Host a one-on-one conference.

Providing a one-on-one meeting with a student is one of the most effective means of providing feedback. The student will look forward to having the attention and allows the opportunity to ask necessary questions. A one-on-one conference should be generally optimistic, as this will encourage the student to look forward to the next meeting.

As with all aspects of teaching, this strategy requires good time management. Try meeting with a student while the other students are working independently. Time the meetings so that they last no longer than 10 minutes.

8. Student feedback can be given verbally, non-verbally or in written form.

Be sure to keep your frowns in check. It is imperative that we examine our non-verbal cues. Facial expressions and gestures are also means of delivering feedback. This means that when you hand back that English paper, it is best not to scowl.

9. Concentrate on one ability.

It makes a far greater impact on the student when only one skill is critiqued versus the entire paper being the focus of everything that is wrong. For example, when I taught Writer’s Workshop at the elementary level, I would let students know that for that day I was going to be checking on the indentation of paragraphs within their writing. When I conferenced with a student, that was my focus instead of all the other aspects of their writing. The next day would feature a new focus.

10. Alternate due dates for your students/classes.

Utilize this strategy when grading papers or tests. This strategy allows you the necessary time to provide quality, written feedback. This can also include using a rotation chart for students to conference with at a deeper more meaningful level. Students will also know when it is their turn to meet with you and are more likely to bring questions of their own to the conference.

11. Educate students on how to give feedback to each other.

Model for students what appropriate feedback looks like and sounds like. As an elementary teacher, we call this ‘peer conferencing’. Train students to give each other constructive feedback in a way that is positive and helpful. Encourage students to use post-it notes to record the given feedback.

12. Ask another adult to give student feedback.

The principal at the school I taught at would often volunteer to grade history tests or read student’s writing pieces. You can imagine how the student’s quality of work increased tenfold! If the principal is too busy (and most are), invite a ‘guest’ teacher or student teacher to critique work.

13. Have the student take notes.

During a conference over a test, paper or a general ‘check in’, have the student do the writing while you do the talking. The student can use a notebook to jot down notes as you provide the verbal feedback.

14. Use a notebook to keep track of student progress.

Keep a section of a notebook for each student. Write daily or weekly, dated comments about each student as necessary. Keep track of good questions the student asks, behavior issues, areas for improvement, test scores etc. Of course this requires a lot of essential time management but when it is time to conference with a student or parent, you are ready to go.

15. Return tests, papers or comment cards at the beginning of class.

Returning papers and tests at the beginning of class, rather than at the end, allows students to ask necessary questions and to hold a relevant discussion.

16. Use Post-It notes.

Sometimes seeing a comment written out is more effective than just hearing it aloud. During independent work time, try writing feedback comments on a post-it note. Place the note on the student’s desk the feedback is meant for. One of my former students had a difficult time staying on task but he would get frustrated and embarrassed when I called him out on his inattentive behaviors in front of the class.

He would then shut down and refused to do any work because he was mad that I humiliated him. I resorted to using post-it notes to point out when he was on task or not. Although it was not the most effective use of my time, it really worked for him.

17. Give genuine praise.

Students are quick to figure out which teachers use meaningless praise to win approval. If you are constantly telling your students “Good Job” or “Nice Work” then, over time, these words become meaningless. Make a big deal out of a student’s A+ on that vocabulary test. If you are thrilled with a student’s recent on-task behaviors, go above and beyond with the encouragement and praise.

Make a phone call home to let mom or dad know how thrilled you are with the student’s behavior. Comments and suggestions within genuine student feedback should also be ‘focused, practical and based on an assessment of what the student can do and is capable of achieving’ (Dinham).

18. “I noticed….”

Make an effort to notice a student’s behavior or effort at a task. For example; “I noticed when you regrouped correctly in the hundreds column, you got the problem right.” “I noticed you arrived on time to class this entire week.” Acknowledging a student and the efforts they are making goes a long way to positively influence academic performance.

19. Provide a model or example.

Communicate with your students the purpose for an assessment and/or student feedback. Demonstrate to students what you are looking for by giving them an example of what an A+ paper looks like. Provide a contrast of what a C- paper looks like. This is especially important at the upper learning levels.

20. Invite students to give YOU feedback.

Remember when you finished a class in college and you were given the chance to ‘grade’ the professor? How nice was it to finally tell the professor that the reading material was so incredibly boring without worrying about it affecting your grade? Why not let students give you feedback on how you are doing as a teacher?

Make it so that they can do it anonymously. What did they like about your class? What didn’t they like? If they were teaching the class, what would they do differently? What did they learn the most from you as a teacher? If we are open to it, we will quickly learn a few things about ourselves as educators. Remember that feedback goes both ways and as teachers it is wise to never stop improving and honing our skills as teachers.

About 

Laura Reynolds is a former fourth grade teacher with a Masters degree in Education from Drake University and a BA degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa. She currently works as an education consultant and curriculum writer. You can find her on @laurareynolds75 and Google+.

55 Responses

  1. Tuty says:

    It’s great topic. I have a friend when I was in junior high school who is not quite good in learning. She learns only when she had a desire to learn. She changed after getting accident in the class in which the teacher gave her negative feedback. The teacher directly judged her and say a bad thing. However, the negative feedback encourage her and made her life change.Now the result is she becomes a great students. So, feedback is necessary for the students to encourage and motivate them, but mostly should be positive feedback.

    • Laura Reynolds says:

      I agree, sometimes we just need to be put in our place. However, the individual must be taken in consideration. My 8 year-old daughter will burst into tears when given any negative feedback but my 5 year-old son takes it all in stride. Thanks for you comment! Take care, Laura

  2. As a teacher trainer, giving feedback to trainees’ lessons can be very challenging. Finding the pitch and tone and when to be blunt and when to be sensitive can be hard.

    I enjoyed reading this and will send it as a link to my trainees before the start of my next training course. It will help me, I am sure.
    Thanks for this post.
    Brendan

    • Laura Reynolds says:

      Giving feedback to beginning teachers is a difficult task, to say the least. Hope that some of the tips included will help you with your trainees. Best, Laura

  3. What a detailed, informative, fantastic post! Thanks for putting this out to the world. 🙂

  4. Jason says:

    It’s a breath of fresh air to read this article. Advocacy is the first key to giving presentation feedback. The second is to focus on the presenter’s strengths while teaching them new techniques. This builds confidence and helps engage the presenter to more success. The best coaches are the presenters’ biggest fans and they treat them that way. Thanks for writing this.

    -Jason Teteak
    CEO/Founder – Rule the Room

    • Molly K. says:

      I couldn’t agree more with you, Jason. This article was worded so well and furthered my beliefs that feedback needs to stay as positive as it can at a young age. I can recount a few times I felt quite embarrassed after giving speeches throughout my early school years, and the teacher giving not such great advice on how to improve for next time. While giving such positive feedback, it DOES boost a student’s confidence while continuing to suggest improvements for next time. This will make them more comfortable with the task and that alone may improve their performances for next time.

  5. Oana says:

    Dear Laura,

    Congratulations on writing such an elaborate description of how positive feedback should be given. I like in particular the fact the you base the process of giving feedback on what the student does right. This helps students build their self-confidence and be motivated to improve their performance because the truth is that all of us need to improve something about our work or ourselves.

    There are other opinions who disagree with the efficiency of positive feedback. Yet, I strongly believe in it and you show so clearly in your post why positive feedback is efficient.

    In Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED talk about “The key to success? Grit”, she mentions that children don’t have the fear of failure. So, I believe it is up to educators and parents to maintain the kids’ enthusiasm and fearless approach to learning.

    • Laura Reynolds says:

      I am a huge proponent of positive reinforcement in the classroom, at ALL grade levels. I was a leaner in the classroom through graduate school (20 years!) and understand how essential the positive feedback was to my success. Although I got plenty of negative feedback, the positive was what motivated me. The negative just made me feel bad about myself. As a mother now, I do my best to give as much encouraging feedback as possible to my littles ones. Thanks for your (positive) feedback! 🙂

  6. Sally says:

    Great insights, Laura! Your last point is something that all teachers need to be encouraged to do. When students are given the opportunity to provide feedback to teachers, they are generally thoughtful and approach the task with maturity. As a teacher, if you don’t want feedback from your students, maybe it’s time to ask yourself ‘why not?’

    • Jessica C. says:

      The last point mentioned in the post is something that is often done on college campuses, but is often forgotten about once teachers are in their own classroom. Just as you mentioned, I believe that students will handle giving feedback with seriousness and maturity.

    • Brittany K. says:

      I agree with what you stated here. I also love the last point in this post. I believe it’s phenomenal for students to have the opportunity to provide teachers with feedback as well. Teachers should be open to feedback so they can grow and prosper as an educator. This will help us reach our students the best that we can in order to move their thinking.

    • Paige S. says:

      Sally, I strongly agree with your post on how students need to be given the opportunity to provide feedback to teachers. Teachers should always want to be improving and gaining better knowledge on how to teach students based on the students’ needs. I think there is no better way to do so than asking your students for ways to improve your teaching.

  7. Some really great ideas here, Laura. It is just as important that teaching professionals learn off their harshest critics, just as it is the other way around!

    Food for thought. Keep it up!

  8. Thanks Laura

    I am quite passionate about feedback. I especially liked points 7, 10, 15 & 16 – not because they are necessarily better than others, but because they are specific ideas I haven’t included myself.

    You (and any readers who enjoyed your article, may like to check out a free pdf guide I made on the same topic How To Give Feedback To Students

    Cheers
    Shaun

  9. Becki R says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article, it reminded me a lot of the great teachers I’ve had in my life. I have a question though. I am an assistant teacher in Japan, and one of my middle school students gets incredibly upset when he gets anything less than an A. He is an incredibly bright student that does well by the book, but when I have to judge speech tests for the students I am at a loss when it comes to giving him feedback afterwards. How can I give him the constructive feedback he needs while making sure his feelings aren’t hurt? The compliment sandwich hasn’t worked since he is more concerned with the scores than the feedback.
    Thanks!
    Becki

    • Danielle S. says:

      Hi Becki,

      I am a preservice teacher and I am working with a student right now that also is more concerned on the grade then on the feedback. What I began to do with her is to not give a grade at first. We first work on what she is struggling with then we continue to grow on her skills she has mastered. Since she does not receive a grade at first, she can focus more on improving her skills instead of the grade. I noticed this has helped my student a lot this year! (I also have started implementing the compliment sandwich feedback and she has really enjoyed this).

      Best,
      Danielle S.

  10. A great post.

    I would like to add another suggestion about the kind of feedback that is more likely to empower students and give them the respect they deserve as the great learners all of us are capable of being. In fact this suggestion also has implications for what is taught.

    This suggestion belongs in the first point you raise. Feedback to a students “mistaken” response needs to establish whether the student is missing a core bit of understanding or awareness or whether the issue is to do with lack of attention. I seldom provide explanations in my feedback. I usually get the students to work out the answer for them self. This can only happen if they have the core bits.

    My speciality is language teaching…in that context I wrote a post on feedback that some might be interested to read – http://www.strategiesinlanguagelearning.com/feedback-in-language-learning/

    If they don’t, I enlist the help of the class and then together with me asking questions as needed, they work out or rework the correct answer.

  11. Jordan Davis says:

    Thank you for sharing these tips for giving feedback! This is an area that I need to improve in giving my students more frequent written or visual feedback! I like the four questions to help keep the feedback stay focused. I’m working on more one-on-one conferences for my resource ELA class and trying to think of more ways to give my students in my math resource class feedback daily. Also, the statement of “I noticed is a great way to keep the information to be specific. Also, I have a question about how often to give written feedback and ways to help it be consistent and simple?

    • Emma D says:

      I like your suggestion of saying “I noticed”. I feel as though phrasing any feedback in this way allows the writer to asses themselves what this thing noticed is and what to do about it. It allows for more of a conversation and less of a feeling of criticism.

  12. As an educator mentor, offering input to learners’ lessons can be extremely testing. Finding the pitch and tone and when to be limit and when to be delicate can be hard.

    I appreciated perusing this and will send it as a connection to my students before the begin of my next instructional class. It will help me, I am sure.Your last point is something that everything instructors need to be urged to do. At the point when understudies are given the chance to give criticism to educators, they are by and large attentive and methodology the undertaking with development.

    • Erin C says:

      Brendan,

      As a pre-service teacher, I would like to thank you for providing constructive feedback to the beginning teachers that you work with. In my personal experience, while it may be difficult to accept constructive criticism at times, it is very important that we listen to what we are told to help us grow. It is very important to also remember that while these tips are vital for teachers to keep in mind with their young students, that we, at the same time, need a positive experience when it comes to feedback so we do not get discouraged in our line of work.
      I think that this article serves as a great resource for yourself, as well as the teachers you are working with.

  13. I blog quite often and I seriously thank you for your content.

    Your article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to take a note of your blog and keep
    checking for new details about once a week.
    I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

  14. Offering criticism to starting instructors is a troublesome assignment, no doubt. Trust that a portion of the tips included will help you with your students. Best, Laura

  15. You actually make it appear so easy along with your
    presentation but I in finding this topic to be actually one thing that I
    think I might never understand. It kind of feels too complicated and extremely large for me.
    I am looking forward to your subsequent submit,
    I’ll attempt to get the cling of it!

  16. Mara says:

    Thank you for your article. As a teacher I strive to give what I hope is constructive feedback and in some instances, I give students a second chance to improve their work. I use a rubric which sets out how the work is to be marked and hopefully focuses the student. I write a lot of feedback on scripts including corrections of grammar/spelling errors, suggestions for improvements, different perspectives, use of referencing and citation, etc. I also give general feedback to the whole class. This takes a lot of time. Is there such a thing as overdoing it? Could this be interpreted as ‘harassment’ or over controlling behaviour by me in any way?

    • Lauren A says:

      Hi Mara! I am a young teacher but I do not believe there is a thing as over-doing it. Students would like to have as much feedback as possible to grow. I think if your feedback is mostly positive, many students would appreciate the time you spent on helping them succeed.
      If you feel as though your feedback is too much, then you can narrow down what you focus on for each time you give feedback. If you always focus on spelling and grammar, maybe one time take a break and focus on one specific aspect of grammar or something different. I also think it all depends on the atmosphere of your classroom and what the students expect from you. Hopefully this helps!

    • Brandon B. says:

      I think giving the students the opportunity to improve their work is a great way to open up their willingness to try new things. It will hopefully spark their creativity and they will not be as afraid to fail on the first try. With the chance to improve their writing the students can work to improve and make corrections as they begin to understand what they need to work on. I will definitely be using this when I teach, thank you!

    • Marcy K says:

      I like giving students a second chance to improve on their work after receiving constructive feedback. I believe that by giving students the chance to act upon the feedback soon after receiving it, the feedback will stick with them more and it will have been of more use, as sometimes (I know I am guilty of this) students do not use the feedback they receive because too much time has passed between receiving the feedback and the next opportunity to act upon the feedback.

    • Crystal C. says:

      Mara,

      I have found that giving feedback to students can be quite cumbersome if you make it so, and that many of them don’t give as much value to our comments when we overdo it. I use a few guidelines to keep me grounded. For example, I do not correct grammar or spelling errors if I know that they have been instructed in the past. It is simply an expectation I have and I hand back any work that does not meet this expectation. I expect students to make the corrections and resubmit. They get the idea after a few submissions, and the majority of the work comes in error-free for most of the term.

      Secondly, I only give feedback on the skills we are immediately addressing. In other words, I don’t give feedback on anything I have not yet taught or skills that I taught a month ago. Finally, prior to students submitting work, I will frequently ask them to write me a note indicating what they would most like feedback on. These strategies help me to focus my work, and I find that students give value to my input. Good luck!

    • Morgan R says:

      I love that you give students a second chance sometimes. As a student, I always appreciated when a teacher would let us do that because sometimes assignments are accidentally done completely wrong. I also love rubrics and will definitely be using them when I am a teacher. I do not think you are harassing students with feedback. If they care about their grades, they will appreciate the feedback because they are always striving to improve.

  17. Naseem Banu says:

    Very interesting and useful tips.These are the areas where most of the teaching professionals lack in their career.Understanding the present mindset of the students is a great art nowadays

    • Frankie N says:

      I agree. We, as teachers, do not want to do what some of our teachers did to us. I’m not sure if I would say teachers lack in giving feedback. I think they just need to practice doing it in a different, more effective way. As the generation gap starts to get bigger, it is harder to understand where some students are coming from… It truly is an art!

  18. Thanks for your sharing!

  19. very interesting and useful information. thanks for sharing your ideas.

  20. Joann says:

    I believe that relationship between lecturer and student effect on student achievement. This is proven by various scientific researches, and I know from my own experience. Generally accepted that in institute or college are learning a lot of stupid, lazy students, but no one thinks that in most cases the fault of teachers. Most teachers do not behave professionally with the students. There is such a thing as the psychology of education, if you have not heard about it – I advise you to read this article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_psychology .
    Lecturers must give educational material interesting and accessible way. The material should not be loaded with different terms, it must be actual for a modern audience. Lecturers must give equal attention to all their students, and at the same time to separate those students who himself understands material and who needs to explain it. This is only main rules of conduct lecturer and student. Unfortunately now is not all tutors correspond to these requirements.
    I was lucky to know such a teacher. He helps me a lot during study, and not only me. Now when I write Thesis – he’ll give me lots of advice, gave an interesting article about thesis writing like this one http://phdify.com/blog/how-to-start-a-dissertation If there were more of these tutors, the problem of poor progress of students gone itself.
    In fact, the main thing to be honest and then lecturer will understand and help you. Now, the lecturer who did not like me, helps me to write Thesis, advises useful articles like this http://phdify.com/blog/how-to-structure-a-dissertation which is interesting and simply says about thesis writing.

  21. Neha says:

    Thanks for sharing these 20 tips with us.

  22. Anaya says:

    Very nice post, I loved the way things are described. Will share it with my friends as well. Keep up the good work.

  23. Lauren A says:

    I really enjoyed all the ideas you presented here in this blog post. I am a pre-service teacher and I will definitely be using these ideas in my future career. I especially liked the idea of “I noticed..” because it allows for the students to recognize that the teacher values them as individuals. I think that this type of feedback goes beyond just the curriculum and helps students grow into adults. When they know the teacher recognizes them and their actions, it will make the learning environment more enjoyable. Thank you so much!

  24. Emma D says:

    Laura,

    What a great post. I think your comments about the need to be constructive in assessment are very true. I also liked that you pulled in a personal experience with presenting that I, and I’m many others, can relate to. I think you have a valid point. Feedback should focus on ability. If a student is torn apart and given little positive feedback they will loose motivation and the enjoyment to write that is so crucial to their success. If a student is told they have certain abilities they are more likely to embrace those positive aspects of their writing and use them to their advantage. Focusing on positive things also boosts motivation. It is important to still give students things to work on but this can be done in a way that frames abilities. I think your point about giving timely feedback is also important. If too much time passes between writing and assessing a piece of work, everyone looses interest in what the piece was even regarding.

  25. Aly T says:

    Hi there, thank you for the helpful post. I especially resonated with point #4 and point #14. Both of these ideas were new to me, but they sound very effective in making our feedback to students both meaningful and educative. For point #14, I find this idea helpful so that when you are either conferencing with students, or when it is time for conferences with parents, you are effectively prepared in ways other than grades and experiences when you want to share with their families. I appreciated the 4 questions presented in #4, so that there is a model to keep in mind when providing feedback to students. I can’t wait to try these strategies out, thank you!

  26. Morgan R says:

    Hi, my name is Morgan R and I am currently studying to be an elementary school teacher. I completely agree with this post. It was always humiliating for me when teachers would point out things I did wrong in front of the whole class, or when they would always point out the negatives in my work. It made me embarrassed to turn in anything else. It is also impossible to feel comfortable presenting in front of everyone when you know that the teacher is going to be extremely critical. When I am a teacher, I am going to strive to keep criticism positive and never humiliate a student. It should not be embarrassing to get corrections. Criticism needs to be given in the correct way. I love the “feedback sandwich” of compliment, correct, compliment. I think that is a great way to help the students improve while also making them feel good about their efforts. I will definitely be using that technique in the future. Great post!

  27. Brandon B. says:

    After reading this article and reflecting on the kind of teacher I would like to be, it is important that all teachers are aware of these tips. The twenty tips written about seem to work hand in hand in to help the students feel more confident about themselves. This is important in my opinion because confidence can lead to motivation for the students. Two tips that stuck out to me were tip number 11 and 20. Both of these tips allow students to make the activity student lead and they are making the discussion. In 11 the teacher is preparing the student on how to properly give feedback. This will allow them to peer edit in small groups or pairs. Number 20 gives the student the opportunity to help the teacher improve, they can get feedback on how they are doing with their feedback. These will be important tips for me in my classroom!

  28. Erin C says:

    This is a wonderful article. As a pre-service teacher, it is very important that I am able to distinguish between giving feedback to my students and assessing/grading my students. Since assessment and feedback can be sensitive topics to address with students, it is important that it is done correctly, while still considering the needs of all students. As you mentioned, the purpose of feedback is to improve student performance. If this is done in a way that discourages students, it will continue to hinder their performance and self-esteem. As teachers, we have the ability to positively influence our students to encourage them to do their best at all times, do we need to take advantage of every opportunity we can to encourage and lift them up.

    While feedback is crucial to students improving their abilities, we need to be sure not to provide feedback on too many things all at once. If we do, students will become overwhelmed and will not know what to improve on. So, as mentioned in the article, teachers, when providing feedback, need to concentrate on one ability.

    Something I had not thought about was educating students on how to give feedback. I think this is crucial to a positive learning environment. If students are unsure of how to politely and positively respond to their peers, chances are feelings are going to be hurt in the process.

    Thank you for your article!

  29. Karli R. says:

    I believe there is a significant difference between feedback and assessment. When a teacher gives feedback, he/she lets students know what they are doing well and what they can improve upon when it comes to their performance on something (homework, behavior, etc). The goal of feedback is to encourage students; we as teachers want them to always feel encouraged to do better than they are doing at this present moment. Although the teacher can certainly give constructive criticism, the main portion of the feedback should be positive so that students will not become discouraged and give up.

    On the other hand, teachers can also assess. Assessing students’ performance is very different from providing them with feedback. When a teacher assesses a student, he/she is evaluating their work in regards to a specific rubric or grading scale. The student will not be able to to “redo” their work based on what the teacher suggests while assessing–the grade they receive is final. Furthermore, assessment should be done at the end of the specific lesson/unit when the teacher feels confident that his/her students have successfully grasped the main portion of the content. Feedback, however, can be given at any time, and the students are able to fix their mistakes and grow before the time for assessment comes.

  30. Frankie N says:

    Hi,
    Awesome post! In one of my education classes we talked about how embarrassing a student is the worst thing possible to do to students. We are there to build confidence, not destroy it. It is super unfortunate that it happens to a lot of students.
    I’m not sure if I agree with #15. I know when I get a grade back at the beginning of class and it isn’t the grade I had hoped for I get mad at my teacher/professor for the whole class while I worry about my grade the whole time, not paying any attention to what the teacher/professor is saying. I feel like it would be more beneficial to hand it out at the end of class to let the grade sink in and then have students write their concerns or questions to go over in the next class. Otherwise, the tips are great! I love #2. I can’t stand it when a teacher/professor hands something back that you don’t even remember doing or what the assignment was. It isn’t helpful and I usually don’t even read the feedback then. I think feedback can be more useful than grading (depending on the assignment because we do have to give grades too) when it is used the correct way! Thanks!

  31. Marcy K says:

    In The 9 Rights of Every Writer, Vicki Spandel wrote that assessments should be perceptive, compassionate, and useful. I can see that many of the twenty ways to give student feedback above are all of these things. With many of the feedback suggestions, I found there was a strong component of compassion, which probably stems from your personal experiences. I believe that compassion is a rather important aspect of feedback, as it makes the writer feel good about their writing, rather than causing them to dislike writing based on one bad experience. The student feedback point that struck me the most was #2, giving feedback in a timely manner. I know from experience how feedback becomes less useful the longer it takes to receive. I think that it is important to remember my responses to feedback as a student when preparing feedback for my own students.

  32. Brittany K. says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. It’s exciting to see that there are so many different ways to give effective feedback to students. As a pre-service teacher it was eye opening to read all of the various ways to give feedback to a student. Some of the tips that were included are new to me and I cannot wait to incorporate them into my future classroom. I like the idea of giving students feedback on a sticky note. I think this a great way to give student feedback while they are working independently. The student can easily refer back to the comment if and when needed. This also does not disrupt other student thinking during work time. Additionally, I like the idea of critiquing one skill at a time when looking at a piece of writing as mentioned in tip #9. This way the students know what specific skill will be looked at, and that a new skill will be the focus for the following day and/or lesson.

  33. Molly K. says:

    The 20 tips for giving positive feedback to students in the classroom served to give me a new perspective in addition to my current course readings in my writing class. One of the tips that stood out to me the most was inviting students to give you , the teacher, corrective feedback. I feel educators are always handing out their two cents to students, while we should also take a step back and hear what OUR students have to say about us. I believe many teachers have a big fear of doing this because they will need to own up to possible mistakes/take time to change certain things going on in their classrooms. But we are always telling students it is okay to make mistakes and to just hopefully learn from them. So why can’t we as educators do the same? Feedback does not need to be negative nor should it be. This serves to be discouraging and creates a hostile, uncomfortable classroom environment. Setting a good example for your students as to what feedback looks like makes them want to do the same. Like this article states, “[We should] train students to give each other constructive feedback in a way that is positive and helpful”. Again this goes along with creating that safe and encouraging environment and will enable students to be more open about receiving feedback and willing to correct themselves in the future.

  34. Jessica C. says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post, it was very informational. While reading this post, it was very surprising to see all the different ways that giving feedback can be implemented in the classroom. When giving students feedback it is important to remember that positive feedback is more beneficial that negative feedback, as this was mentioned in the first tip. It is important to remember that when giving students feedback on any sort of assignment the feedback should only be focused on one aspect. As the post mentioned, one day the focus was on making sure students were indenting their paragraphs correctly, and the next day was focused on something else. This is important to remember because more often than not teachers provide students with feedback on a wide variety of areas of improvement, this just overwhelms the student and they have no idea where to begin making revisions. I thought the last tip was very interesting, allowing students to give the teacher feedback. More often than not I feel that we forget students have their own ideas and opinions about how we are teaching.

  35. Paige S. says:

    I really enjoyed reading your article! It made me reflect back to all the times I was given feedback in school or when I had to give somebody else feedback. As a pre service teacher, I have learned how essential it is to give positive feedback to students. I loved your idea of the “feedback sandwich” that gives compliments corrections then compliments. Many times I have seen peers shut down after only receiving negative feedback and I think adding in positive feedback will motivate the students to improve their weaknesses. I can’t wait to use your other strategies in the future!

  36. Meghan V says:

    Hello, my name is Meghan V. I enjoyed reading this article, as it identifies so many great ways to encourage writers and keep a positive outlook on writing for students. As a preservice teacher, I can see myself incorporating many of these tips into my own teaching so that I can not only teach writing effectively, but to make my students feel comfortable and supported both in the classroom and in the subject area itself. A tip that really sticks out to me is how teachers should give students educative feedback and base this feedback on what the student is doing right. This topic was also discussed in The 9 Rights of Every Writer, where Spandel highlights the importance to uplift and genuinely help writers to give them courage, as courage is most important above any writing strategy. As assessors, we know that we have to identify problems but should focus much of our attention on encouragement for students. To make sure I can do both, I will keep in mind the “feedback sandwich” so that I can remember to give mostly positive comments about students’ writing with ways they can improve in between.
    I also agree with how important it is to give this genuine praise. From experience, I know it is very beneficial to know exactly what you are doing well as a writer so that you can continue to use these strengths in other pieces of writing.

  37. Morgan M. says:

    I really love the ideas presented in this blog post! I think, as educators, we focus a lot on what students are ‘getting’ curriculum-wise and often overlook what students are ‘getting’ from us. I especially like your points about giving students feedback in a timely manner and that they should be focused on one thing. If we wait too long to give feedback, and there’s simply too many things, students are 1. not going to care as much, and 2. probably get a little frustrated when they have so much feedback that they don’t know where to start. I think, also, your point about teaching students how to give and receive feedback is something that follows through when a teacher effectively gives feedback. If we model how to give and receive feedback, the students will be more prone to giving and receiving feedback to their peers. Overall I really enjoyed this article, and as a pre-service teacher, I am glad to hear that teachers in the field are still thinking about the things we talk so often about in our education classes.

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