While assessment tools can be beneficial to educators in gauging student learning, it is the strategies that we adopt for providing feedback that have a lasting effect and transform student learning. Think back to a time when you received feedback from an instructor, was the experience a positive or negative one and how did it affect your attitude towards the course or subject matter at hand? As quoted by Laura Reynolds (2013), in her article “20 Ways to Provide Effective Feedback for Learning”, “when feedback is predominately negative, studies have shown that it can discourage student effort and achievement. It is important that adult educators provide positive feedback to their students that reinforces student learning.
In her article Reynolds (2013) shares with us 20 strategies educators can use to provide effective feedback. While I do agree with all 20 strategies that she suggests, I am only going to focus on the ones I feel are most valuable. In my opinion, the strategy that I value the most is providing feedback that is educative in nature. What could be more important than providing a student with feedback that they can learn and grow from? Ensuring that you provide specific examples, of what the student is excelling in as well as areas where improvements are necessary, is crucial for students to be able to learn from the feedback. Reynolds suggests using “the concept of a ‘feedback sandwich’ to guide your feedback: Compliment, Correct, Compliment.” I think this is a valuable concept and intend to use it in the future; the feedback is centered on reinforcing what the student is doing right.
Another strategy that Reynolds mentions in her article is to encourage students to provide feedback to us, the educators, at the end of the semester. I have used this strategy in the past, and will continue to do so in the future, and felt that it has significantly helped me to recognize my teaching flaws and improve my skills as an educator. After all, to be an educator in the 21st century you need to be committed to being a life-long learner and strive to continually improve your practice.
To read Reynolds article on providing effective feedback for learning please refer to the link in my resources section.