Giving and getting feedback is an essential part of learning. When trying to improve your understanding and actions, it’s necessary to get MORE feedback. Knowing about the feedback process can provide a deeper understanding of it’s purpose and parameters. When giving or getting feedback, keep in mind the content (what is in the message), and the strategies (who, when, how the feedback is constructed). Look at feedback with an eye toward setting goals. Applying the SE2R (Barnes, 2015) framework when providing feedback can help focus on the work and the next steps.
Actively seeking and acting on feedback will improve teaching and learning. This is not always easy but it is necessary. So, how can your learners seek feedback? How can a teacher seek feedback on their teaching? How do you go about seeking feedback and who do you get to provide this feedback. When you want feedback, where can you go? As a teacher, there may be a mentor that you can ask. There may be someone in your personal learning network (PLN) that will provide an honest critique of your work from the perspective of a ‘critical friend’. With innovative approaches using technology, this feedback can be provided without needing to be physically present in the same space at the same time. It’s a matter of being willing to engage with video, audio, media and text to support your reflection and feedback. So how do you do this?
Seek out one or two in your PLN that can do a ‘deeper dive’ of your work. Make sure you let them know what type of feedback you are looking for and how you intend to use the feedback. If you plan to publish their feedback in any way, let them know. Collect and share your work. You can ask someone to video you while teaching, focusing only on your actions, not that of your students. You can capture audio using recording apps (iTalk, voice memo) or software (Audacity, Garageband). You can screencast your digital work or share a link. You can publish to a shared digital space (Google docs). If you are open to the opportunity, you can do a shout out to all who read or connect with you in digital spaces to provide comments or tweets. With all these options for feedback, come choices. How will you decide what format the feedback will take? Creating video or audio feedback may not feel comfortable, but is shown to be more effective than a written version.
Once the feedback is given review it carefully. Know that it’s not about you, but about your work. See what is right and good, then focus on areas that need some attention. If the feedback is provided in the SE2R format, it will provide strategic observations, as well as specific and focused next steps. It’s up to you to accept and act on the feedback provided. Take time to think about what this feedback means for your teaching practice. Think about how you can apply these strategies and techniques to your own work with students.
- Are there ‘quick fixes’ that can be done right away?
- Are there elements that will require deeper changes to what you do and how you do it?
- What one or two things will you start with and how will you hold yourself accountable?
As I review the purpose of feedback and the process of delivering feedback, I reflect and consider the feedback techniques and strategies I am currently using. I see the potential of applying a range of new technologies to improve my feedback practices. Completing an audio recording of comments on an assignment may be ‘heard’ and acted upon, rather than written comments that are read and dismissed. Creating a screencast of web-based work will provide a visual recording of what is seen, where connections and corrections can be made, and potential next steps to be considered.
So, send me some feedback please. Make it visible and audible. I’m learning and need feedback to improve.
COFA online UNSW. (Oct. 26, 2010). Using audio feedback in your teaching – case study. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/s0d-fzUmZ28
Barnes, Mark. (2015). Assessment 3.0. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press
Brockhart, Susan M. (2008). How to Give Effective Feedback to your Students. ASCD Publications, Alexandria, Virginia.