Blog of the Week: 5 March 2021 – Focused feedback: why less is more

Feedback is meant to help students, but too often, it doesn’t. Students may not read it, may misunderstand it, or may not use it. If they clear each of these hurdles, they may still forget it by the next lesson. Meanwhile, giving feedback adds to our workload: it’s meant to be manageable, but too often, it isn’t.

Similarly, feedback is meant to help teachers. But too often, it doesn’t: too many issues are raised, goals are too vague, and there’s too little follow up. To make feedback useful, instructional coaching suggests we prioritise one small goal, practise it immediately, and return to it subsequently.

If teachers need focused feedback, surely students do too. Too often, my comments on students’ work were like an unhelpful observer’s to a teacher: I offered lots of …

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