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Balanced, Specific Feedback

For: Parents, Teachers

Tags

Social-Emotional Learning/Growth Mindset All Ages Strategy

Skills

Anxiety Verbal Reasoning Abstract Reasoning

Balanced, Specific Feedback

Valid criticism is doing you a favor.
— Carl Sagan

Balance constructive feedback with positive feedback to encourage a healthy mindset and student's self-confidence.

How To Apply It!

  1. Feedback is different from criticism. Feedback is constructive and includes specific examples of where the student could do better as well as suggestions for what to do to improve.
  2. Aim for a ratio of positive-to-negative feedback of between 3-1 and 5-1. In other words, parents and teachers should try to say three to five compliments to balance out a single constructive point. You are balancing self-confidence and self-awareness of good work as well as identifying areas for improvement.
  3. Focus feedback on what is most important. Remember that balance is key and not every mistake needs to be highlighted.
  4. Be sure students understand the feedback. Consider having them repeat the feedback in their own words or explain what they will do next with the feedback.
  5. Identify how your student takes constructive feedback best. Many students prefer to receive feedback in a one-on-one meeting, while others might feel better with written feedback that they can digest before discussing.
  6. Provide immediate opportunity to use the feedback. Students need the opportunity to apply the feedback soon after, otherwise it is unlikely to engender the desired change.
  7. If a student makes the same error, consider having the student do the work while you watch.You want to understand if she is not being careful or if she needs help with comprehension.
  8. For students who struggle taking feedback, provide them with additional coaching.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Feedback that feels like criticism can put a student on the defense, often leading them to shut down. If students are primed to accept feedback, they will be encouraged to listen, learn and grow. Evolutionary psychologists call this the primacy of emotions over reasoning, as human beings are far more likely to react strongly and negatively to bad feedback than they are to hear any positive feedback.