Getting feedback right Part 2: How do we provide clarity?


As discussed in yesterday’s post, I am currently working on the assumption that there are only 3 meaningful purposes of feedback:

  • To provide clarity
  • To increase pupils’ effort
  • To increase pupils’ aspiration

I had planned to discuss how we might go about giving each of these kinds of feedback in one post, but on reflection it seems sensible to divide the how of giving feedback into 3 separate posts which will discuss each process in detail.

So, first off is providing clarity. It ought to go without saying that if pupils aren’t clear about how to improve, they’re unlikely to get any better. The chances are that they will embed mistakes through repeated practice and end up getting good at doing it wrong. This is not to be encouraged. As teachers it should be reasonably obvious to us when a pupil has misunderstood something and when they have made a mistake due to carelessness or lack or effort. Our problem is that we face Hobson’s Choice: we know that if we just point out some of the mistakes pupils have made we allow them to embed bad practice, but if we point out every mistake we overload pupils’ ability to learn.

Read more on The Learning Spy

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