Thursday, August 7, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 219

Crafting meaningful #feedback might not be easy, but the alternative simply makes things more difficult. #QuoteADay #Day219 #edchat #edu

What makes something meaningful?  Is it the amount of time put into something?  The effort?  The relevance?

There might not necessarily be one good answer here, but one thing is clear: The more meaningful something is, the better the chance that it will make a difference in someone’s life.

So, let’s talk a bit about feedback.

Which of the following takes more time to craft?

“Great job, Jimmy.”


“Jimmy, you explained the events of the Battle of Antietam with accuracy.  I wondered how these events in the battle served as a strategic victory (if not a “real” one) for the Union.  What can you share about this?”

Now, which one is going to be more worthwhile to Jimmy?

Despite the fact that the second comment requires more time and brainpower to craft, it means much and more to the student receiving it.

A “Good Work” or a number (like “90%”) means very little to a student.  It doesn’t provide anything for students to think about, though it may certainly provide something to worry about.  Feedback without purpose is simply a waste of space, and a waste of time.

So, the question arises, “How do I make sure my feedback is always meaningful?”

Try taking these two steps:

1.        Before providing an assignment, assessment, or discussion starter, ask yourself, “Can I provide meaningful feedback on this?”  If the answer is no, then toss it for something else.

2.       Give yourself enough time to delve deeply into what students are saying, writing, creating, or sharing.  If we have too much on our plates, the time factor may make it harder for us to provide meaningful feedback.  No one will decry fewer measures of learning as long as the measures that are used truly get to the heart of what needs to be learned.

Just because you provide feedback, doesn’t mean it truly “means” anything to your learners.  Always make sure that the feedback you share can be acted upon by those that receive it.

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