Thinking about Feedback

“What leads you on
Wakes you in the night
What calls your name
When no one else can hear?
What follows you
That even you cannot see…
 
Follow that star.
 
There is no one’s life but your own.
Seize every fiber
Every feather and force
That weaves through all
Surrounding you.
A light, a guide.
A way”

Borhani, M.T., (2017). Living with Words: This “Vale of Soul-Making”. Sameshima, P., Fidyk, A., & James, K. (2017). Poetic Inquiry: Enchantment of Place. (pp 100 – 107). Delaware, USA: Vernon Press 

What leads me on? What wakes me in the night?

How do I seize the feedback I’ve been given and let it guide my way deeper into thinking about feedback – as a giver and receiver of feedback.

It’s one thing to ask for feedback, and another to take that feedback and reflect on it. Reflecting doesn’t mean just reading through it and perhaps considering it worthy of further action. It’s not about listening to the comments made by others after they’ve examined my work, my teaching, my writing. It’s taking it all in – the good, the interesting (because it’s all interesting in some way), and the not so useful (even though it usefully tells you that you’ve missed the mark in terms of explaining yourself with clarity). It’s more than reacting with an ‘ah yes‘ or a ‘wonder why‘ when I look upon the comments made. It’s really thinking deeply and then acting on the suggestions in one way or another. 

I was gifted with feedback, from my classmates in the Research Colloquium course I’m taking, on my draft proposal for grant funding, and from critical friends in digital spaces. When I suggested an open forum using Hypothes.is, I never imagined the deep, rich and responsive feedback I would receive. I am thankful to those who took time to read and respond.

I am also reflecting on feedback I give to others – on conference proposals I’ve been reviewing, on book chapter submissions I’ve offered to edit, on comments I add to blog posts, and feedback I give to my students. What do I expect will happen when I provide feedback to others? This graphic about feedback that I created a while back focuses on the giver of the feedback, but fails to look at the expected action or reactions to feedback.

concept map of feedback
Mapping the Concept of Feedback

What do you do with feedback you’ve been given? How does it shape your ‘NEXT’? Do you attend to every element of feedback, or focus on one or two pieces of feedback that are meaningful? Just wondering out loud! Add a comment to leave me some feedback!

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