Giving Effective Feedback

feedback

(Newton, 2013)

 

      In everyday situations, people need to give feedback for each other because it is a good way to improve themselves. Through this exchange between each other people can get a better understanding about what they do. Sometimes, they want to know if  they are doing well or not, because they may keep on doing some things although they need to change them to get a better result. According to DeWitt (2013), “’Feedback’ is defined as ‘helpful information or criticism that is given to someone so they can improve a performance, product, etc.’” (p. 4). There is a lot of feedback that we can get them from parents, teachers, friends, or any person, which can enhance performance and achievement. Because of that, people have to make sure that the aim of their feedback is to be for interest others , not to attack a person. Thus, feedback includes both positive and negative observations, which may give positive results or be counterproductive.

      To get positive results from feedback, it should involve a specific goal and be helpful, and timely. DeWitt noted that Bronson said, “The experts in the field (Wiggins, Bambrick-Santoyo, Danielson, and others) all cite some common characteristics of effective feedback: it is goal focused, timely, actionable, and transparent, among other things.” (2013, p. 4). Feedback works toward specific goals because the best feedback is that which relates to the goals. If the goals are not clear, we cannot direct people to their mistakes very well. According to DeWitt, “There are times when teachers and school leaders don’t offer any relevant information and make statements such as “good job” or “try your best.” To be clear, that is not effective feedback. There isn’t anything wrong with complimenting someone by saying “good job,” as long as school leaders and teachers are providing more defined feedback as well.” ( 2013 , p. 4). Saying “Well done” or “Good job” is praise, not feedback, which is important to strengthen ourselves, but it will not help us to improve ourselves very well because we do not know in what mistakes we made. Wherefore, It is important that we differentiate between praise and feedback.

In addition, people have to give timely feedback because, if the feedback comes too late, the result of performance will be less than optimal level. According to Curtin University of Technology’s Teaching Development Unit, “Feedback needs to be timely: given early in a unit, or promptly after assessment tasks, so that students have sufficient opportunity to use the feedback for improving subsequent performance.” (Teaching Development Unit, p. 2). Giving feedback early allows people a chance to realize their mistakes before it is too late. Therefore, people have to know that giving feedback promptly will help them to get a better performance from others .

      On the other hand, ineffective feedback may give counterproductive because the way of giving feedback may affect the person’s acceptance or rejection for it. Peter shows that Bronson says, “Effective feedback first and foremost looks like a dialogue, a conversation rather than a lecture.” (2013, p. 4). Effective feedback looks  like conversation of asking and listening between each other more than just telling, which comes from one direction. For example, a person may rebel and not accept your advice or any feedback from you, which involves a lot of information, because that leads to difficulty understanding the importance of what you are saying. Also, ineffective feedback can affect the productivity of the students. In some situations, the performance received was not as described by the advice or evaluation, which can have a big negative impact on our performance. For example, “You did a great job, but as a second language student, you still in the same level”  How so? Does this mean that even if he/she did a great job in all the required things, they still have not learned to do anything because they are a second language student? I hope not.  I would highlight that people have to look at the words used when they give feedback for others, especially teachers, because students need constructive feedback rather than negative feedback and they need to feel appreciated for their efforts. According to DeWitt, “The type of feedback provided, one of the common misunderstandings is that feedback is personal, which means there is a chance that it can be taken personally.” (2013, p. 5). He goes on to point out to Bronson’s claim, “Effective feedback does not happen in a vacuum. Besides ensuring that a feedback conversation ends with a clear and manageable expectation going forward, we have to have systems that are coherent to ensure that expectations are implemented” (2013, p. 5). We should avoid the advice or evaluation which does not lead to good performers or causes learners to lose the motivation to learn.

      In conclusion, feedback includes both positive and negative observations. Therefore, we should remember that the best feedback is that which you honestly provide to help others because people will know if you want really to help them to go up, or you just want to push them down. Peter DeWitt pointed to the importance of feedback through what John Hattie said at the University of Auckland, “The most powerful single moderator that enhances achievement is feedback” (2013, p. 4). So, If you really want your feedback accepted and welcomed by others, it should be supportive of personal development, not destructive.

References

DeWitt, P. (2013). The Importance of Effective Feedback. Vanguard, 42 (3), 3-6.

Teaching Development Unit. (n.d.). Providing feedback for student learning. Curtin University of Technology. Retrieved from http://evaluate.curtin.edu.au/local/docs/5providing-feedback-for-student-learning.pdf

Newton, C. (2013, November 18). Give Feedback that Stretches and Grows Your Employees. Talent Formula. Retrieved from http://talentformula.ca/development/feedback

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2 thoughts on “Giving Effective Feedback

  1. Hi Amal,

    I like how you explained this topic, as well as the examples you used. Your blog entry really made me think about how I give and receive feedback.

    As you stated, feedback is essential to improving our performance, but is easier said than done. While reflecting on my own skills, I realized that I am terrible at giving feedback. By not being comfortable criticizing the work of others, I end up using unhelpful statements like “great job!” Complimenting someone’s specific strengths is good, but without also including something constructive, I am not helping anyone develop his or her skills.

    With regard to your comment that a student, “did a good job, as a second-language learner,” I agree that this is neither helpful nor true. I know many second-language learners whose writing is exceptional, by all standards. I am a native-speaker of English, but have had to work hard on improving my writing, through years of constructively-criticized practice and by reading well-written texts. A fun and helpful guide to English punctuation that I’ve used is entitled, “Eats Shoots and Leaves,” by Lynne Truss and the best advice I ever received is: “less is more.” Using the least number of words possible makes text easier to read and understand. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a native-speaker of English, he or she can still master the art of writing in this language.

    Receiving feedback is also an acquired skill because we first need to weigh whether this feedback is constructive criticism or just criticism. I have also not been very good at accepting feedback because I haven’t learn to focus on the constructive message and, instead, generalize the comment as an affirmation that I have performed poorly.

    Thank you for your thought-provoking blog that has given helpful, timely, and focused ways that I can improve my feedback skills.

  2. Nice post Amal.
    I have a love/hate relationship with feedback myself.
    A few years ago I received a little guide from a coach on giving and receiving feedback which I found to be most helpful.
    The idea was in order to give effective feedback (in addition to all the other things like being timely and specific) you needed to be in a place of groundedness yourself. Your feedback should be akin to an offering to the other person (rather than seeing it as a judgement). In order to receive feedback effectively the same was required. Be in a mindset of groundedness and take the feedback as a gift, this other person is offering you information constructively in order so that you may use it to improve.
    I have found that this shift in mindset helps no matter what side of the fence you are on, If someone is being critical and judgmental of you but you are grounded, then you can let the negativity wash away and perhaps take a few nuggets to work on. If you offer feedback from a place of respect and service to the other person and they are negative or not receptive, then you can still be ok with the fact that you were offering information in a positive way and you can’t control how the other person chooses to respond.

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