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The importance of focused feedback

Feedback is a conversation about the learning that has occurred. It is always related to the intended learning context, and aims to increase student understanding of the features of the learning. The purpose of feedback is to reduce the gap between the intended and actual learning, and can be achieved by informal and formal methods.

Feedback often uses:

  • modelling
  • exemplars
  • reminders
  • scaffolding
  • checklists relating to learning.

Feedback informs both the student and the teacher to provide direction for learning and teaching.

Informative feedback:

  • can be provided by the teacher through informal roaming conversations, conferencing with groups and individuals, or formal written comments
  • can occur through self-reflection by the learner and through conversations with fellow learners, subject experts, and the wider community
  • is ideally initiated by the learner, who identifies what feedback they need to support their learning
  • is appropriate for the learner, in terms of what feedback is provided, how little or how much feedback is offered, and how such feedback is delivered to empower the individual
  • recognises student success relative to the stated success criteria
  • appreciates that errors can assist learning
  • provides next steps for learning, recognising that students need appropriate amounts of scaffolding and sufficient time to implement these steps.

According to John Hattie of the Melbourne Education Research Institute, focused feedback is the most influential factor in promoting learning – more significant even than students’ prior cognitive ability and the quality of the instruction they receive.

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Last updated August 16, 2019