Importance of Feedback

As professionals, we all strive to do our best. As our journey through a school year or teaching career unfolds, we get feedback from a variety of places. Typically, administrators give us feedback on our performance a few times a school year through an evaluation system. Colleagues share thoughts on our practices during our school’s collaboration time. Students often share their classroom experiences with us.

Bill Gates once said, “We all need people who give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Schools and teachers that adopt an effective feedback system will foster a culture of improvement by having important discussions on teacher and student performance.The process of learning is usually messy. The learning journey should be full of mistakes that allows time for teachers and students to accommodate for the errors they make.

If this process is done correctly, teachers and students are more likely to focus on their growth and potential rather then feeling the pressure to master something on their first attempt.The main purpose of feedback in education is to have back and forth communication on student/teacher work and performance.

In a perfect world, this feedback system needs to be individualized to best serve the needs of our teachers and students. Administrators that evaluate teachers have a great opportunity for personalized feedback, as each teacher is evaluated on a one to one basis. Teachers that serve 20-30+ students in each of their classes find it difficult to provide that personalized feedback in a timely manner. Providing feedback is just one part of the process. Giving effective feedback is a more challenging venture.

Below are a few simple guidelines for effective feedback:

1. Stick to the goal/learning objective: Use comments that are geared to the expectations of the assignment/project. Reference parts of your rubric so students will understand where they are in relation to the goal/learning objective.

2. Don’t be wordy: Stick to the point and focus your comments on the student’s strengths and the areas they can grow.

3. Make it actionable: While you are focusing your comments on student strengths and areas of growth, make the feedback so specific that the students will immediately know what their next steps are in the learning process.

4. Be “Student-Friendly”: Do not use technical phrases and teacher jargon students will not understand. Use language that is clear, concise, and in student-friendly language.

5. Be consistent and timely: Attempt to provide a consistent system of providing regular feedback to your students. The feedback needs to be delivered in a timely manner throughout your unit/lesson to assure students will not become disengaged or demotivated.

It would be nice if we had the time to have a one on one conversation with each of our students during each of our units/lessons. Unfortunately, this is not the case and causes teachers to make the decision to find another way or to just skip it for now.

Fortunately, there are several applications that teachers, students, and administrators can use to effectively provide feedback.Google has done a terrific job of integrating ways to provide feedback in many of its G Suite applications. Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings all have a built-in comment feature that can be used for giving feedback.  Here are a few screenshots of each application and how you can access them.

Example of Feedback Commentary using Google Drawings

Example of Feedback Commentary using Google Slides

Example of Feedback Commentary using Google Sheets

The Formative website also has a built-in feedback system. You can give feedback to students using any type of question format on Formative. This website is a great tech tool to implement quick and efficient formative assessments in your class. Check out the website at http://www.goformative.com.

Below is an example of a short answer question submitted by a student and feedback the teacher gave back.

There is a great Google Doc add-on that is called Orange Slice Teacher Rubric. You can create a custom rubric or copy and paste an existing rubric into a Google Doc. Teachers can highlight the part of the rubric on how they scored and the teacher can provide immediate feedback to the student on why the teacher gave them a certain score on the rubric.

Below is an examples of what it looks like.

Giving quick, meaningful feedback to your students is an important practice that can be effectively and efficiently performed using Google G Suite tools and/or Formative.

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