In this episode Dan discusses the need for students to not only get critical feedback, but to also be given the time to action the feedback and revise their work.
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Hi everyone. Welcome again to another episode of the Effective Teaching podcast, where I provide you with actionable strategies that you can apply to your teaching and learning to enhance student learning and transform them into lifelong learners. I’m Dan Jackson and this week I want to discuss Critical Feedback and Revision
Something we do not do often enough with our students is allow time for them to get feedback and revise their work, especially for assessment tasks.
We think we do by saying submit a draft 1 week before and I will give you feedback… but the reality is that less than 10% of your students probably take you up on this, unless you are from a selective school or only teach extension classes. Regardless, I can guarantee it is not 100% of your class.
In my recent study of PBL and creating my own PBL units I love what they do to provide students with feedback that they should action and it is all tied up with public audiences. Or at least one beyond you.
Often there are 2 or 3 rounds of feedback and revision in PBL because it follows more of the design process where revision occurs multiple times until the prototype is ready to become an actual product. So for the classroom what this means is that the feedback comes from multiple sources:
- Another class or group of students could provide feedback using criteria or maybe by answering questions asked by the student who is looking for feedback.
- Have a mentor (teacher, adult, expert etc) provide feedback using criteria or maybe by answering questions asked by the student who is looking for feedback.
- Feedback from a wider audience. Maybe a test group if what is being produced can be tested, or from a variety of people NOT the teacher.
Throughout this whole process the teacher also has the chance to provide feedback multiple times, but the teacher is not the focus for whom the product is being produced.
For example, You could have students write an essay on a specific novel and then share this essay with 3 students from another class who provide feedback answering questions such as:
- What did you learn from the essay?
- Was there something you wondered because of the essay?
- Were there any sections that were difficult to understand? Etc
The student could then revise the essay and publish it on the web or share it into a group on SM where people are familiar with the novel and can provide further insights such as:
- What perspective did this essay not consider?
- Is there evidence you know of that would further strengthen or perhaps be used to argue against this essay? Etc
If you set dates for these types of public feedback sessions, students tend to get the “draft” ready by then because otherwise it is embarrassing for them. There is a sense of pride and the removal of a place to hide. But there is also a sense that what they are creating is not just for them and they can begin to see some of the other applications of their product.
Whenever you are doing feedback like this having some sort of criteria for the feedback or pre arranged questions to get feedback on can really improve the results of the feedback and the student’s willingness to then revise the product.
To help with this I want to refer to a book I have been reading called The New 1-minute Manager. Now there are 3 aspects to the one minute manager each of which takes 1 minute. One of these is called a 1 minute redirect.
A 1 minute redirect basically is when the “manager” and in our case this is anyone providing feedback, and I like this approach as a teacher.
First they need to mention what they can observe about the product and relate this observation to the goal that the student has already set, or a learning goal set together. You then want the person providing feedback and the student receiving it to work together to redirect their efforts to help them achieve the goal.
So, if I go back to the essay, saying that it is not as persuasive as we set out to achieve is the observation. But then working with the student to identify what they need to put their efforts into to improve this is even more important!
This is the future focused feedback that is needed. What can we do not just to improve this essay but all future essays. So you might talk about the need for more evidence, or maybe all she needs to do is change the modality of her writing so that it is stronger in its argument.
One thing I want you to note about this process though, is that it requires a goal! It requires that the student has something they are wanting to achieve and you are focusing on the goal and comparing this with the product. Criteria and exemplars can help with this.
You are comparing where the product is at to where it needs to be and then finding out how to get it there. Notice this is a slight shift from where the “student” is and where they need to get to. It focuses on the work produced.
The end of the 1 minute redirect always has a positive twist. So that the negative comes first and then there is a form of statement that shows that you believe the student is better than they are producing and know that they can achieve the goal they are working towards.
Now, if I come back to the PBL approach with multiple opportunities for feedback, each of these opportunities is also spaced out. Spacing them out is done on purpose, so that the students actually get a chance to action their feedback. To revise their work and make sure that it is ready for the next lot of feedback.
I think a 1 week spacing is sufficient. You don’t want it to be so long that the student puts off acting on the feedback, but you also want to make sure that they can fit time into their schedule to do the actions. Allowing time in class can help with this.
Often I hear teachers provide feedback and expect the student to act on it in their own time, which rarely happens. But, if we set aside the time for this when we first create our learning schedules then it becomes something that the students have time for in your class, when you are there to help them. And that for me is key.
Actioning feedback can be hard and it is often when students need their teachers the most. If we are not around for this, then we are throwing them into a sink or swim situation, which might work for some, but the majority will give up and sink.
So, this week, I want you to find a way that you can book in some external feedback for your students and include at least one lesson where they can then action this feedback. It can be as simple as asking a different teacher to have a look at it, or putting it up online and asking your PLN to help them out. There are some great platforms for this type of feedback. Places like Padlet, FlipGrid, or a SM post. Whatever you come up with, set aside the time for students to benefit from some critical feedback and revision.
My final word of advice here. If you are going to go public, make sure that you can go through the feedback before your students do. This way you can hopefully filter out any comments that are unwarranted. You want the feedback to be specific, helpful and kind, not simply critical.