Reflective Teaching – Day 14

Te@chThought‘s Day 14 Challenge is: “What is feedback for learning, and how well do you give it to students?

Feedback for learning feeds student learning. Using it effectively allows students to check their own progress as it relates to learning targets. This type of feedback provides suggestions about strategies or directions to pursue next. It is an honest conversation between people who are interested in learning.

I am still developing skills in this area. Some of my beliefs support this type of feedback, for example, no test/quiz in my room is ever “over”. Any learner can redo any assessment at any time without any penalty. I don’t average marks.

I give better feedback for learning in language arts than I do in math. In language arts my students write responses to what they are reading, and I write back to each student. I ask questions and seek deeper thinking. We maintain a conversation about great books, and students quickly realize that they need interesting books to read in order to participate in interesting conversations!

In math, I find that I am able to give feedback in problem solving, but in all other areas my students and I are dependent on the numbers: what did I get out of 20? I have asked them to identify strengths and weaknesses, and always give opportunities to improve, but for most students it becomes just a score, not feedback.

I am hoping that as our reporting process moves away from letter grades and into portfolios or reflective practices, feedback for learning will be better understood and become an expectation in our schools.

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