Every classroom is a continuous hub of feedback: verbal and non-verbal clues, self- and peer- assessment, pre- and end of unit assessment results, written next steps, etc. All feedback however is designed with the same intention; to positively impact a students’ progress to allow them to meet and then further exceed their own potential.
A students’ ability to receive feedback positively and use it to inform improvement can widely vary. Ensuring that a student can manage and receive this feedback positively is integral to making exceeding progress and achieving success. A teachers’ ability to recognise the types of feedback a student responds to best is also a key factor to ensure that the feedback is both received positively and acted upon.
Two Harvard law professors, Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, argue that identifying different kinds of feedback is a good place to start. Their book Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (2014) separates feedback into three main sections:
- Teach students to reflect on their reactions to the three categories of feedback.
- Help students be proactive about how they ask for feedback.
- Remind students which categories of feedback they will get or give on projects or assignments.
Developing their own abilities to self-assess success takes time but is a powerful learning skill. Routinely encouraging students to use these three skills for self-reflection can enable them tobest utilise the feedback they receive:
Appreciation: Where were you most successful? What improvements stand out?
Coaching: How can your knowledge expand? Where does effort need to be increased or reassigned?
Feed-forward: What needs to change or stay the same to be successful? How does your behaviour need to change to align with the desired outcomes?
Try these questions at home to help develop your child’s ability to self-assess upon their own success. It can take time to encourage and teach them how to respond to feedback but the positive effects are well worth the time!
Ms. Lucy Nicholls
Deputy Head Academics, Junior School