Use Feedback to Encourage Effort / by Tyler Wood

Feedback and revision are the keys to learning as a student or a life-long learner. Feedback comes in many shapes and sizes and in the classroom they tend to come from three sources - the teacher, the student, or the student's peers. To organize a class around giving students enough time to analyze their feedback and process it can be seen as saying we should organize our class around learning. Seems obvious, but teachers don't always spend time on it. 

In my class, since I teach ESL in Korea, I find that they really respond to peer-assessment, especially the lower-level students, because they can always explain something in their native language if they are running into a dead-end. I use this a lot, though I could use it more often. I have already begun to "make data part of an ongoing cycle of instructional improvement" (Hamilton, L., Halverson, R., Jackson, S., Mandinach, E., Supovitz, J., & Wayman, J., 2009).

When having students work on a new concept I will offer them an example of how to do it well, or offer a rubric for expectations at the beginning. Then they will work on the assignment. I stop them with enough time to exchange papers with a fellow student and look over the work. Then they will write and/or tell their classmate what they believed worked well and what could be improved based on the rubric. This has been a challenge at first, but I know once they get used to this routine, not only will they be able to offer and receive feedback more effectively, but they will be writing before the feedback with the future feedback in mind and be more aware of the expectations in the rubric or examples offered. Using a student progress tracking sheet will be added to keep them mindful of where they came from in their learning and where they are going. 

Another way to organize around analyzing feedback and processing it is to revisit their written feedback. "Some researchers [Kluger & DeNisi, 1996;Shute, 2008] argue that written comments are preferable to verbal communications as students can revisit them"(as cited by Brown, 2012). I correct and offer constructive feedback on their weekly journal writing assignment. Every week when they are done writing their journals I am getting them in the habit of reading my comments and corrections and using those comments and corrections to self-assess their current writing. Many student make the same mistakes in spelling and grammar, unless they break that cycle. I try and give them a chance to break that cycle every week with this routine. 

Ultimately, there should be no problem organizing class time for this because this is part of what should be in classtime - learning. We shouldn't let drudging though content out-weigh the learning process for the students.

Click below to see the analysis of my implementation of the student progress worksheet.




Brown, G. (2012). Teacher beliefs about feedback within an assessment for learning environment: endorsement of improved learning over student well-being. Teaching and Teacher Education, doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2012.05.003.

Hamilton, L., Halverson, R., Jackson, S., Mandinach, E., Supovitz, J., & Wayman, J. (2009). Using student achievement data to support instructional decision making (NCEE 2009-4067).  Retrieved from National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education website:

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