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Who should be seeking and giving feedback - teacher or student?

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

Picture credit: Unsplash

As an inquiry teacher, I always believed that students should actively seek and give feedback more than the teacher, as it is their learning, right? If students are always passively receiving feedback from their teachers, how will they engage with it?

Moreover, initially, I believed that inquiry teachers should refrain from correcting their students at the beginning or during the tasks. If I corrected thinking at the start of the task, how would students express and inquire about the concepts and activate prior knowledge independently?

I always prepared my students to self-assess and peer-assess learning and used success criteria to give feedback. Students used various systems to provide me with feedback all the time during lessons or as exit tickets.

However as I read and learn more about feedback, my perception about feedback has begun to change. It is such a complex process, so integral and perpetual in any successful and agentic learning environment! Read on to find out more!

What is feedback? Feedback is corrective information about the task intended to improve learning performance or fill a gap between what is understood and what is expected to be understood. There are systems, tools, agents and kinds of feedback.

I used to think teacher feedback, peer feedback and self-assessment were different kinds of feedback. Upon reading and learning more, I discovered that teachers, peers, self, and the internet are the agents that provide feedback regarding aspects of one's performance. (Hattie and Timperley 2007) The rubrics and I can statements are various tools that help teachers and students seek and give feedback. The four kinds of feedback are as follows:

  • Praise

  • Task-related

  • Process related

  • Self-regulation

Task-related: In a classroom, feedback can be sought or given from student to teacher, teacher to student, and student to student. However, task-related feedback is precise, focused on accuracy and corrective in nature; hence usually given by a teacher during any new learning or beginning of a task. I have written an entire blog post on examples of task-related feedback. Kindly check that out.

Process related: this kind of feedback should move a learner deeper in their learning. This kind of feedback does not tell learners if they are right or wrong. Process-related feedback focuses on students' thinking. It can be given either by a teacher or a peer. Usually, this kind of feedback is in the form of a reflection or a question. It helps students reflect on the process, make connections between the ideas or concepts, strategies used or self-explanation. Kindly check my blog post for examples of process-related feedback.

Self-regulation: As the name suggests, this kind of feedback involves students becoming more aware of their learning and being able to unstuck and find solutions when they approach a problem. This feedback promotes the transfer of knowledge, concepts or skills. The teacher's role is to facilitate self-regulation through questioning.

Who should be giving feedback, and when? :

Important to note that feedback thrives on misconceptions and errors.

( Clarke 2019) Therefore, a teacher's role is to provide timely feedback to help students move in the right direction at the right time.

Task-related feedback at the beginning of the new learning helps students correct their thinking and misconceptions. In short, teacher-to-student and student-to-teacher feedback are very effective at the beginning of a task for a corrective action and to check if students have understood the task. Prior knowledge starters at the very beginning of the lesson will get student to teacher feedback. Mid lesson stops are also a way teacher can seek and give feedback during a lesson. Here are exit tickets that could be used to seek student-to-teacher task related feedback.

Feedback from peers should be initiated once students have understood and developed an awareness of what success looks like. This awareness is built through key features, examples-non-examples, procedural steps and context. Without that understanding, the peer feedback will be tokenistic, shallow, and without output. In short, effective peer feedback and self assessment should hinge back on criteria for success!

Another essential thing to remember is that once success criteria are co-constructed with your learners, give them some time to self-review before they get feedback from their peers. It could be frustrating if a peer critique suggests modifications that students could have spotted themselves if given some time for reflection. In short, self-assessment first before students seek peer feedback!

I hope this blogpost helped you to answer this above question. What do you think

who should be giving/seeking feedback?


Almarode, J., Fisher, D., Thunder, K., & Frey, N. (2021). The success criteria playbook.

Corwin.Hattie, J., & Clarke, S. (2021). Visible Learning Feedback. Routledge.


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