I started to explore how we might make feedback more meaningful a few weeks back but then got sidetracked. If you haven’t already looked at them, it might be worth spending a few moments on Part 1 (which discusses the different purposes for giving feedback) and Part 2 (which looks at how to increase pupils’ understanding) before reading any further.
Right. Still with me? Once we can be reasonably sure that pupils understand how to improve, our next step is to check that they can actually be bothered. It’s become something of a cliché to say that success depends on hard work, but essentially that’s the message we need to convey.
Tragically, far too many pupils would rather be seen as lazy than stupid. It’s much more preferable not to try because then you have an excuse for failure: “Of course I could’ve done it, but I couldn’t be arsed.” Why is this considered so much more socially acceptable? Well, that’s actually fairly straightforward. Most people see effort as something that is transient but intelligence as something that is fixed. It seems obvious that if we believe we can’t get clever then it might not make much sense to try.
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