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  • Writer's pictureBrian Woods

What Feedback Really Is

Effective feedback is neither praise or criticism. Although inspiration, encouragement and motivation is occasionally needed, feedback is less about being a "rah-rah" coach or cheerleader on the sidelines. This means disconnecting emotion from the feedback. Instead it is more about being a teacher helping the student understand the process of learning.

Feedback language should be carefully selected to move the learner forward along the path that leads to high educational expectations. More specifically, feedback is valuable information offered to a learner focused on curricular objectives and community expectations, fostering improvement in a student's academic progress and personal development.

By redirecting or realigning the learner's actions towards the expected goals, good feedback ensures efforts correspond with desired outcomes. It encompasses various aspects such as: task, process, self-management, or, less effectively, personal characteristics.

Historically, feedback has been provided in verbal or written form.  However, more modern tools enable feedback via assessments and digital platforms. And the sources for feedback might vary, ranging from teachers or peers involved in the learning process.

The challenge is providing enough feedback since teachers are only afforded a finite amount of class time. And written feedback has traditionally been a time-consuming task, thus limiting the amount a teacher can provide.

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