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WAYS OF PROVIDING EFFECTIVE FEEDBACK FOR LEARNING

The term feedback is often used to describe all kinds of comments made after the fact, including advice, praise, and evaluation, how we are doing in our efforts to reach a goal, for example, I teach a lesson with the goal of engaging students. Feedback plays a crucial role in setting the preconditions, and supports learning. Once the student is engaged in the learning process, the teacher should provide feedback that guides the student in a journey of discovery. Teacher’s feedback must support the learner’s ability to test, predict, and challenge their understanding of a topic.

Decades of education research support the idea that by teaching less and providing more feedback, greater learning can be produce. Helpful feedback is goal-referenced; tangible, transparent etc.

Various feedback characteristics have been suggested to positively influence student learning. It is not clear how these feedback characteristics contribute to students’ perceived learning value of feedback in cultures classified low on the cultural dimension of individualism and high on power distance.

To be powerful in its effect, there must be a learning context to which feedback is addressed. It is but part of the teaching process and is that which happens second-after a student has responded to initial instruction-when information is provided regarding some aspect(s) of the student’s task performance. It is most powerful when it addresses faulty interpretations, not a total lack of understanding. It may even be threatening to a student: “If the material studied is unfamiliar or abstruse, providing feedback should have little effect on criterion performance, since there is no way to relate the new information to what is already known.

In recent years, research has confirmed what most teachers already knew: providing students with meaningful feedback can greatly enhance learning and improve student achievement.

Feedback should have these effective techniques

  1. 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.

  1. Should be timely.

The sooner I get feedback, the better. I don’t want to wait for hours or days to find out whether my students were attentive and whether they learned, or which part of my written story works and which part doesn’t. Educators should work overtime to figure out ways to ensure that students get more timely feedback and opportunities to use it while the attempt and effects are still fresh in their minds.

When 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.

  1. Should be goal oriented

When giving feedback, it should be clear to students how the information they are receiving will help them progress toward their final goal. Effective feedback requires that a person has a goal, takes action to achieve the goal, and receives goal-related information about his or her actions.

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

It is vital that we take into consideration each student individually when giving feedback.  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.

So far, educator should provide less teaching, more feedback. Less feedback that comes only from you and more tangible feedback designed into the performance itself.

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