Monday, 1 June 2015

Feedback stimulates learning.

I have read a couple of articles recently that have given me the kick I needed to get my thoughts down in a post.  Firstly, @drdavidjames wrote an excellent post on why using text books is not such a bad thing.  In his post he talks about having written his own text book and the benefits for him in taking part in that process.  The second post I read was on the website where @mrhistoire bemoans the fact that people and schools confuse feedback with marking.  I have certainly seen that happen and know exactly what he means.  Providing feedback is something in which I believe strongly.  As for marking - I can take it or leave it.... It often feels like a chore until I remind myself that what I actually need to do is provide feedback for my students to make the necessary improvements to progress.  
How then do these two posts link up?  For me it's simple.  One talks about the benefits of feedback (which, if you need reminding - is not marking) and the other talks about how they have benefitted from the feedback given by the editors. One, as a teacher, has actively benefitted from feedback given.  Furthermore, David explains
"being edited returns you to being at the receiving end (of frank criticism)"
Of course, receiving feedback can mean developing resilience. However, being at the receiving end is not only about frank criticism and should be seen as a positive.  It encourages learners to engage with their mistakes, examining where and how they have gone wrong.  Suddenly they can see their work through someone else's eyes.
What is more the feedback process does not end there; giving feedback is perhaps even more rewarding.   If we allow our students to take part in the feedback process and review each other's work the rewards are there for both givers and receivers.  In reading critically students can become more self-reliant as writers and learn to edit their own work. 

In being part of a collaborative feedback process from start to end (that is, in giving as well as receiving feedback) students can gain much more from the process.  They can be empowered to take greater responsibility for their own learning.  Giving is as good as receiving!

Please provide me some feedback.... what are your thoughts on this...