Post 14 in the TeachThought 30-Day Blogging Challenge: What is feedback for learning and how well do you give it as an educator?
Feedback is critical for learning. However, there are some important elements that must be in place for feedback to be effective.
1. First we need to build community. Whether adopting and implementing the principles of Responsive Classroom or building community in other ways, students need to feel safe, trusted, and respected. They need to know how to communicate and collaborate.
2. We need to develop a culture in which students know making mistakes is part of the learning process. Edutopia shared this post a few years ago that still resonates with me, The Role of Mistakes in the Classroom.
3. We need a growth mindset and clear definitions of how we grow and learn. I’ve been revisiting Jackie Gerstein’s post, The Educator with a Growth Mindset, a few times in recent weeks.
4. We need an audience. It can’t only be the teacher and classmates. Here’s a quote from How Digital Writing is Making Kids Smarter, that illustrates the value of a larger audience.
“Academic studies have found that whenever students write for other actual, live people, they throw their back into the work -– producing writing with better organization and content, and nearly 40 percent longer than when they write for just their instructor,” Thompson writes.
5. We need to learn about feedback and commenting. This is something we intentionally teach. What are the parts of a good comment? How do we give one another feedback? How will it help us and impact our work? How do we interact with others in person and online?
I rely on the classroom teachers with whom I work to establish these elements in the culture of their classrooms. When I get the privilege of working with them, I see the impact that learning feedback has on their experience in school. When these elements are in place, the real learning happens. Feedback truly is for learning.
Image: creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by Karl Horton: http://flickr.com/photos/karlhorton/1903050006