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How to use Feedback to move Students' Learning Forward?

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

Some key messages about what makes feedback effective and organic as we delve deeper into what makes feedback successful for every child.

Feedback is perpetual in primary classrooms. Do all kinds of feedback drive students' learning and help them improve? When is the right time to give feedback? Whose feedback is most valuable -teacher to student, student to student, or student's self-feedback through their learning?

Hattie and Timperley (2007) describes feedback as relating to actions or information provided by an agent (teacher, peer, book, parent, internet, experience) that provides information regarding of one's performance and understanding.

Feedback and developing a culture in classrooms

It is equally important to pay attention to whether students understand the purpose of feedback. We may create many systems and tools for seeking feedback; however, as teachers, we need to pay attention to our students, who receive and act on feedback.

The aim of the feedback should be to close the gap between student's current understanding and the expected understanding. I believe that for feedback to thrive in any classroom- teachers need to embrace these two ideas:

1. Feedback thrives on students' misconceptions and errors. Teachers must have success criteria visible in the classroom, so students can understand more clearly when they have made a mistake or have not included everything that made their learning successful. When these criteria are co-constructed with students, they have more ownership of the process and are more motivated to engage in taking steps to close the gap between what is understood and what is aimed to be understood. In scenarios, where students understand the content and can already create successful learning pieces, feedback is not going to make much of a difference.

2. All of my students can improve. When teachers believe that all students can expand their skills and knowledge base, a climate of trust and safety is created within classrooms. Students will be more encouraged to make mistakes, and as a result, they will make more efforts to seek and act on the feedback.

According to Kluger and Denisi (1996) Feedback is most effective when goals are specific and challenging but when task complexity is low. Giving praise for completing a.task appears to be ineffective. Feedback is more effective when there are perceived low rather than high level of threat to self-esteem.

Effective Feedback Model

We had a professional development program at school to train teachers on Visible Learning. One of the requirements of this PD was to reflect on our practice of making feedback visible in our classrooms. My team was already using the single-point rubrics to gather peer and self-assessment. As the leader of the team, I was a bit perplexed. I had two questions in mind: What were we not doing already, and if we were, what might we improve next?

I used the Visible Learning Feedback book by Hattie and Clarke as my resource guide. As a team, we read some chapters and brought back our shared understanding in creating a system that helped answer all our questions. Kindly read my next post to learn about our new system.


John Hattie and Shirley Clarke, J.A.S. (2019). Visible Learning Feedback.

John Hattie, J. (2021). Great teaching by design.


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