Feedback Literacy—Digging Deeper

Studies have shown that feedback literacy is one of the most important elements of learning and that students are generally starved for good feedback.

When I first began teaching, I knew that feedback was essential in helping students identify errors and improve. In my own educational journey, the teachers I loved the most were those that took the time to give constructive feedback.

As I began to teach, I gave as much feedback as I could—only to find that my feedback was not effective. I thought that some of my students didn’t care, I gave my feedback too late, or what I provided was somehow incorrect or not beneficial. Perhaps you have found yourself thinking similar thoughts. In order to fine-tune my feedback skills, I decided to research best practices around feedback. 

Check out part one of this series: Giving Feedback for ASL—and Making It Count

While I’m constantly adjusting my practices around feedback, here are some of the core principles I follow:

Discuss

Discuss the value of feedback and reward by giving additional points per assignment. For feedback to be effective you must discuss it. Similar to stating learning objectives before students begin work, students need to understand the method behind the tools you implement. 

Provide Examples

Teach and provide examples of good and useful feedback. This includes being specific about what is being shown and why it is being noticed. Be sure to provide examples of both positive and negative feedback. 

For example, “good job” means nothing on its own, but giving context as to why it was a good job will reinforce that skill. Similarly, with negative feedback, students need to know what the error is, along with how to fix it. Model this and allow them to practice this by using markers for specificity and using comments to expand on the “why” or
“how.”

Assign Responses

As you train your students to use GoReact to provide feedback, have them respond to each other’s videos. Assign them to respond using both text and video feedback on other students’ assignments. Remember to change the Privacy settings to either closed or open peer.

Set Expectations

Set expectations for your students as they review and respond to feedback. Just as you wouldn’t assign homework without setting expectations, you shouldn’t assign your students to give feedback without clear requirements. Setting clear expectations will help you and your students be on the same page before they review and respond to feedback.

You may choose to quiz your students to ensure that they understand a concept before providing feedback. By setting up a Comment Only assignment in GoReact, you can have your students take a pass-off test. (Click here to see an example)

feedback literacy

Stay Consistent

Our natural inclination is to “fix” everything we see.  But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.  Research shows that less feedback on one or two targeted skills is more beneficial than overwhelming students with a shotgun approach to feedback. However, Susan Brookhart recommends the “Goldilocks principle” when it comes to student feedback.  Not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. Whichever way you decide to provide feedback, make sure you’re staying consistent. You can use the markers feature in GoReact to recognize your patterns in providing feedback.

Be Timely

You should provide feedback within a day or two of submitting the work and expect the same from your students. By giving feedback in a timely manner, the assignment is still fresh in students’ minds. As they review feedback, they can learn from their mistakes while it still counts and implement changes before the next assignment.

Practice

Turn the responsibility over to your students by allowing them to practice. Practicing includes completing both self and peer evaluations. This will provide an active opportunity for students to develop an awareness of the concepts being taught. It also leads to increased confidence and the ability to discuss learning objectives or standards.

Studies have shown that feedback is one of the most important elements of learning Click To Tweet

Implementing these changes will result in increased student interactions and engagement. You and your students have a shared responsibility to grow together throughout the semester. 

Check out our article: Teaching ASL Online: Making the Transition With GoReact

Sources
Brookhart. How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students.
Efficient And Effective Feedback In The Online Classroom.” Magna Publications.
Hattie, Timperley. “The power of feedback.” Review of Educational Research.
Kluger, DeNisi. “The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory.” Psychological Bulletin.
Wiggins. “Seven keys to effective feedback.” Educational Leadership.

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