Student Centered Feedback – Some Techniques!

1 May

Just a quick blog post.  Last week I went to a talk by Jim Scrivenor at St. Giles, one of the things talked about was makingstudent-centered feedback more useful. Too often, says Jim, teachers simply elicit the answer ‘rubberstamp’ (“good”, “well done”) and move on. I agree, and one negative comment from my last observation was that I could think of more ways to make feedback more student centered. Jim gave a variety of techniques, but this week I’ve been experimenting a bit myself too. My aim has been to get more discussion about why answers are right or wrong with less teacher intervention.

Here are three things I’ve tried. The first two, I thought of myself (I’m not saying I’m the first one to think of them, of course!), the thrid is something I learned before:

Technique One: DIY Feedback

Activity types: Primarily longer reading or listening texts

Procedure: I told students they had a strict time limit of 6 minutes.  As a class, they had to agree between them what all of the answers were and then get one student to write them on the board. I was not to intervene.  I told them that if they got one wrong, they couldn’t go home! (a joke, obviously). 

Result: For an FCE listening, this worked very well. They all discussed what was said and used some good language of negotiation which we went through afterwards (feedback on the feedback!).  I have a small class (6 students), bigger classes may need splitting up somehow.

Technique Two: Your turn!feedback-heads1

Activity types: Listening (could be adapted for reading)

Procedure: I cut the tapescript up and gave each pair of students one part of it (but myself the first part), each part was the answer to one – two questions. In pairs they found the right answer for their questions. Then, I did feedback for the first question, eliciting answers and asking for reasons before telling them whether it is right or wrong.  Then the first pair become the ‘teachers’ and do feedback for the second and third questions, using the same kind of techniques.

Result: Tonnes of fun.  They had a whale of a time, mainly because they decided it would be funny to imitate both my manner and my middle class English accent whilst doing the feedback. Very amusing, if not a little embarrassing (there were some startlingly accurate impressions).  It also produced some interesting discussion.  I’ll use this again.

Technique Three: Master Copy

Activity types: All

Procedure: I learned this on my CELTYL a few years ago, but had forgotten it. Basically, you put them in groups of three or four, then choose one person in each group and mark only their work (tick right/wrong). Then the three use the marked piece to check their own answers, and find the right answer to any that were marked wrong. Give a little time at the end to clear up anything they are still uncertain about (or do this whilst monitoring, if possible).

Result:  Good for variety, the only disadvantage was that some wrong answers went undiscussed. Still, I’ll use it occasionally for some variety!


Does anyone else have any other interesting ideas for feedback that they use?


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