Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Feedback On My Feedback

I recently received some feedback about my feedback. Actually, I received two almost polar opposite pieces of feedback about my feedback.  I'm ok with that for reasons that will become apparent.

Before I go into the feedback let me share a little about the feedback to which they're both referring:

Whenever I collect my kiddos' 'learning' (whether it be their reading journal or a glogster draft) I will make a couple of comments about what I've noticed and then suggest a 'next step in learning' (NSL) they could focus on in their next activity. It's NOT a mandate. It's NOT a direction. It's a suggestion. As time passes and my learners become more self-directed I expect them to also identify their own NSLs.

It typically looks something like this.

Most students sign and date it to say they've seen it and more often than not they demonstrate some level of improvement in that area pretty well immediately. I can't tell you how often I've been asked for a mini-lesson based on suggested NSLs. 

The first bit of feedback I received ran something like this: "What are you doing!?!? You don't give that much feedback on everything do you? You're mad! They won't read it anyway. What a waste of time!"

The second bit was: "Thank you so much for the feedback. *** loves it!  The NSLs have been just the push to go harder and further that she's needed." 

It in onerous sometimes, yes, but isn't it what we're meant to do? Give feedback that celebrates what our kiddos are already doing and helps them move forward? Invite them to think about ways they can develop?  

I'm always looking to improve the feedback I give. I know I need to get better at the 'compliment' part of feedback. You might notice in the feedback above that I've tried (not hugely successfully) to notice and name the fact that this student regularly writes persuasively. Yesterday I read a post written by the fabulous Two Writing Teachers about compliment conferences and I'm determined to pull some of their strategies into my practice. Check out their awesome info graphic about it: 

Check out Two Writing Teachers amazing blog at

So, you can see why the polarity of the feedback didn't bother me.

How do you give feedback?

This relates to the following Australian Professional Standards for Teachers...
Standard 5 Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning
Standard 6 Engage in professional learning


  1. this reminds me of the anecdote about to People Who were working on a building site cutting timber. The first was asked, "What are you doing?" To which they answered, "I am cutting timber." When asked the same question the second person replied, "I am building a house for a new family to live in."

    1. I can't find the 'like' button, but I do like that story. Thanks for sharing.