Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Instructional Feedback: One strategy to help kids better understand and learn


Do you know the difference between judgmental feedback and instructional feedback? 

Let’s look at some judgmental feedback comments that kids may get...
Yeah! Great! Awesome! Best work ever! You can do better! Try harder! Smiley face….frowny face…F…checkmark….X…. 

Instructional feedback gives the kids an idea about what they need to do to improve, what they did that was awesome or what they did that was not correct or not good.

“I like the way you introduced your readers to the main idea with the use of….”

“Your identification of heat as a catalyst in this situation is one possibility but there is a better choice. Give your response a re-look and get back to me.”

“When you lift the weight, hold your hands here and watch me…spread your legs apart about this far…ok? Now you show me.”

“Your completion of this problem was progressing correctly until you reached this segment. Your answer was a negative number it should be positive. Look below this line that I have drawn and see if you can find your mistake.”

“In your explanation of migration patterns you addressed all three of the variables that initiate the need to move.”

The reason that kids need instructional feedback is that this is how they learn. This is how they develop the ability to judge whether they are getting the point, understanding the topic, and able to demonstrate and replicate the activity. This is how they learn.

Let’s look at a couple of video clips… What would you tell the baseball player in this clip…? 



Would you say, “Wow!... That was terrible!” How about, “You could do better!” "F for style!" Or would you say, “Remember to think about how far you have to run before starting your slide." Or "Tell me what happened when you began your slide."

Do you see why the player would learn nothing from the first comments? He may even develop an attitude toward you…because after all, he may have been safe but the replay of his interesting slide will be shown forever on YouTube!


How about these ice skaters...?



What feedback would you give them? Would you really have the nerve to say something like…”What were you thinking?” “That was a poor performance!” “You could do better…” Or would you say, “Let’s watch this video clip and see if you can determine what you did that caused the fall. Let’s figure this out together.”

Next time you are providing feedback to your students or kids…Think about what you are saying…Ask yourself…could they really even attempt to improve based upon what I said? What words or comments could I write or say that would assist the learning process? Instructional feedback is extremely important for growing understanding of content and raising the level of performance!