Providing feedback to learners acts as a guide towards their success. It offers learners a better explanation as to how they are doing. It is a key element in the learning process.

Why is feedback important?

  • Feedback that is informed from learners’ work assists in planning. Planning that then focusses on improving the initial plan that will in turn improve performance.
  • Feedback provides information to the learner on the status of their skills development, which is the focus of the curriculum.
  • Feedback helps identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • It creates opportunities for lifelong learning.
  • It links learning to assessment processes.

What is good feedback?

  • Ensure that the learners buy in to what is being said and that it is viewed positively.
  • Use descriptive words in a positive manner to avoid the learner reacting negatively.
  • Be specific and write or speak at the level of the student.
  • Feedback must be given timeously for it to be most eff ective.

Do it right!

  • Focus on what the learner is doing right – use the concept of a “feedback sandwich” to guide your feedback: Compliment, Correct, Compliment.
  • Be timeous – provide feedback after a learning activity or assessment for it to be meaningful. Waiting too long takes the eff ectiveness of the feedback away.
  • Be considerate and sensitive to the learners – consider each learner and their diversity.
  • Ask the following questions:
    • What can the learners do?
    • What can’t the learners do?
    • How does the learner’s work compare with that of others?
    • How can the learners do better?
  • Always use a skill or learnt concept when providing feedback – provide specifi c information.
  • Keep learners on target – this helps learners keep track of their performance.
  • Set up one-on-one sessions – in this way your attention and theirs is undivided and focussed.
  • Feedback can be given verbally, non-verbally or in written form.
  • Teach learners how to give peer feedback, or have another adult other than yourself provide feedback.
  • Encourage the learners to take notes during the feedback session or employ any techniques that will help them remember.
  • When returning tests or exam papers allow learners to ask necessary questions and to hold a relevant discussion.
  • When the learners do well off er genuine praise.
  • Most importantly allow the learners to also offer you feedback and view it maturely.

Source: Zimmermann. A.2014. Feedback to learners. Macmillan South Africa