Giving feedback

Module Three | Classroom management

How is feedback given?

TKT PRACTICE TASK 

To answer questions 1-5, match the given situations with the different types of feedback listed 1-3.

  1. All the students are having issues with the new language and the teacher notices this. She makes a note of the problem and later talks about it with her students.
    1. Peer feedback
    2. Teacher feedback to an individual
    3. Teacher feedback to the class
  2. A young student who was describing his pet to the entire class has just finished. The teacher says: ‘Thank you. That was very interesting.’
    1. Feedback on ideas
    2. Feedback on attitude
    3. Feedback on language
  3. A student who is a teenager has written a story as part of his homework. The teacher has written: ‘This is very much better than the homework you did last week. Well done.’
    1. Specific instructions on what to do
    2. Identifying problems
    3. Encouragement
  4. The teacher writes on a student’s draft of a composition: ‘Look at this website and refer these books for more ideas.’
    1. Feedback on grammatical mistakes
    2. Instructions on planning
    3. Help with using reference resources
  5. There is a group of primary level children in the class and the teacher is talking to them after a group work activity has been completed. She says, ‘You talked a great deal today. I was very happy to you all working together so well.’
    1. Feedback on progress
    2. Feedback on behaviour
    3. Feedback on pronunciation

Giving information to students about their learning is called giving feedback. Feedback can be on students’ language or skills, the kind of ideas they have in their work, their attitude to learning as well as behaviour or their progress. At times, teachers give feedback to the entire class. Sometimes they give feedback to small groups of students or individual students. Feedback motivates students and helps them to realize what their problems are as well as how they can improve them.

Feedback: Focus and purpose

Write down three comments that you would usually give to your students as feedback. What do these comments focus on? Why would you give them to your students?

The table below show some examples of teacher’s feedback to students.

Example

Focus

Purpose

Oral: ‘well done. This is much better.’

Progress, language and ideas

Praising the student and tell her she is doing well; encouragement.

Oral: ‘Have another look at number four. There’s a problem with spelling and I think there are more than two people.’

Language and ideas

Telling the student there is a problem with one of the answers and that she needs to look at it again.

Oral: ‘Let’s look at the new structure on the board again. I think some of you have misunderstood how we use it.’

Language

Inviting students to look again at the language that they are having problems with.

Written: ‘What an amazing story! You’ve used adjectives very well this time. Your work is much better this time. You have tried very hard.’

Ideas, language, attitude and progress

Praising the learner on her good level of work, and the effort she has made and in particular on one part of her writing (adjectives).

Oral: ‘You’ve made good progress in all your work this month. Your written work is much more accurate.’

Language and progress

Informing the student of her progress; encouragement

Written: B/70%. Have a look at the grammar section 5 at the back of the coursebook and check again the difference in meaning between the past simple and past perfect.’

Language

Giving a grade and informing the student of what the problem was with her work and telling her exactly what she needs to review and how.

Oral: ‘You did all the pair-work activity quite well but I heard too much Spanish and not enough English.’

Language, ideas and behaviour

Encouraging students but also informing them that they did not behave appropriately during pair-work.

Types of feedback

Teachers can give students feedback individually or in groups. Peer feedback is when students give feedback to each other. Feedback can be either oral or written. It can also be connected to formal or informal assessment and can be given to students either inside the classroom or during individual meetings. Regular feedback can also be written like comments, grades or marks on the student’s record sheet. This sheet can be kept with the student in their portfolio or otherwise the teacher can keep it with her/his records of the student’s progress as well as achievement. This feedback can be used when the teacher makes the end-of-course assessment.

Peer feedback is of important to all students as it is found to be very useful. Students who give feedback reflect on what their classmates have done. The students who get the feedback are guided and told how to improve their work. A feedback observation sheet is used to guide students. Younger students cannot give peer feedback in much detail since they are too small to think about their peer’s work carefully. This type of feedback positively affects classroom dynamics and it can help to train students in skills that they would need in order to become autonomous.

Students can give teachers feedback as well about the activities, lesson and materials. They can let them know when they like what they have to do and when they do not care much about the materials and activities. They can also inform them when they are having issues with language. Also, students can make suggestions to the teacher on what kind of materials and activities to use.

expert

Nerd baby says ...​

It is essential for feedback to be positive. The teacher informs the students on what is good, what the students are doing right, what they should improve on and how they should do it. This is especially important for weaker or less confident students.

Teachers can give feedback in the classroom during an activity while they are monitoring their students doing pairwork or groupwork or even at the end of or after a lesson.

While giving feedback, the teacher can revisit or otherwise recycle language that the students have issues with.

Students will need to be trained in how to give proper feedback to one another.

The teacher can organise small-group feedback sessions. In these sessions, the teacher and the students can give and receive feedback about the classes or on their learning.

Personal or sensitive feedback must be given to students individually in a meeting and not publicly in front of the whole class.

Giving students oral or written feedback after an assessment is useful. It is also useful to give them a score. This means to encourage them and guide them on how to improve.

Test Your Knowledge

In the table below are some examples of feedback. For each example, try to find the focus and purpose.

Feedback

Focus

Purpose

1.       You have sat nicely for the whole lesson. Well done!

 

 

 

2.       I’m not sure that’s right. Can anyone help?

 

 

3.       That was very thoughtful of you to help the other group.

 

 

4.       This is great, but not all your work has been so good this month. Some of it was rather careless.

 

 

 

Read the teachers’ comments below. They are about giving feedback. Do you agree with these comments? Why?/Why not?

  1. When I ask my students to give each other feedback, they say ‘That’s ok’ and then they don’t say anything more.
  2. My students only care about the marks they get for their work. They do not show any interest in my comments and sometimes don’t even bother to read them.
  3. My class of adult students are always requesting feedback from me on their levels. They want to know how well or otherwise they are doing in each and every lesson. I believe it’s very tough for the students who are progressing more slowly than the others. They don’t appreciate me telling them that they are not doing as well as the other students.

Please comment below your answers and/or any questions regarding the lesson. 

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