5.2 Provide feedback to students on their learning

“Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement, but this impact can be either positive or negative.”

Hattie and Timperley (2007)

I prioritise high quality verbal and written feedback in my classes and wish to improve my teaching and learning in this area. Some examples of written feedback I gave to year 7 English students on their written narrative can be seen here: English 7_Feedback and here. In this feedback I tried to include positive AND critical feedback/’warm and cool’ feedback, which focused on areas for improvement. As well as the written feedback on their drafts, I made myself available for questions and feedback during the drafting process.

IMG_2183 (1)
Providing feedback in a drama theory class – 2015

When giving feedback I think it is useful to keep in mind the SMART acronym and endeavor to make feedback Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Timely.

I picked up several strategies to help promote effective feedback with the classroom at the professional development days I attended. Formative assessment and student to teacher feedback are closely linked and Glen Pearsall (Assessment on the Go) talked of several strategies (fist-to-five, exemplars, exit passes, etc) that helped to achieve this.

Kate Daly at the VATE conference, recommended that for both middle years and VCE students, that you mark students’ work, get them to highlight and annotate the new draft/first draft (WHAT THEY HAVE CHANGED and HOW they have responded to your feedback) and then staple the first draft with your SMART targets on to the second draft. She says, “it is better to give them VERY specific feedback on two points initially (not everything). It might be spelling and use of apostrophes on the first draft and then expanding vocabulary and using connectives on the second.” I observed my mentor providing similar, one-on-one feedback to VCE English students.

Dylan Williams recommends that English teachers adopts the following technique when providing written feedback, “Rather than correcting spelling, punctuation and grammar, put a letter in the margin for each error in that line using a G if for an error in grammar, an S for a spelling mistake, a P for a punctuation, and so on. For the stronger students, simply put a dot in the margin for each error, and for the weaker student, indicate where in the line the error was. The idea is that the feedback gives something to the learner to do so that the immediate reaction of the learner is that they have to think.” (Williams, 2006). This makes me think of effective feedback as being more active than passive, and is a feedback technique that I would like to implement in my teaching.

References
http://visible-learning.org/2013/02/john-hattie-helen-timperley-visible-learning-and-feedback/. Accessed October 2015.

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