Monday, September 15, 2014

Feedback for Learning

(Day 14 of the Teach Thought blogging challenge: What is feedback for learning and how well do you give it to your students?)

When I think about feedback for learning, I think the following should be required:

1. It should be meaningful.
2. Reference the end goal.
3. Provide clear direction.
4. Consistent.
5. Timely.

Feedback can be given to students in many ways. I tend to give feedback to students verbally, one on one. I teach second grade, so giving a grade simply is not good enough. A grade doesn't mean much to them. They need to know exactly what they're doing correctly and what needs to be improved upon. This may occur, for example, during reading conferences, writer's workshop conferences, and even before classroom projects are completed. 

When I give feedback through praise, I make sure its genuine, citing details from their work. I do provide written feedback as well. As I mentioned, a grade doesn't mean much, but detailed commentary on student work does. It may come in the form of praise, but may also come in the form of questions to trigger more thinking on their part. My feedback is always given with the goal of moving students to the next step or the next level. I'm not one to give them the answer, but instead I ask probing questions to get them thinking in that direction. 

Feedback can be tricky sometimes. Each child is different, and sometimes a little sensitivity is required. I believe it's important to build some level of rapport with students before delivering feedback. When there's a level of trust between teacher and student, the student is more open and accepting of the feedback.

What other ways are teachers giving feedback for learning?