With only a few lessons left with some of my year 7 and 9 classes, I thought I might use the time to find out what students think good feedback is, whilst also working on their Speaking and Listening skills. I started with some year 7s, asking them first what they would define feedback as. They collectively came up with the definition of feedback as 'something someone tells you about how you can do better'. I found this interesting, as it implies an oral element.
Next I shared a bit about my interest in feedback with them, telling them that I am studying for my Masters at Cambridge (a fact they all found quite interesting, bless them) and that my focus is on how students perceive feedback. I told them that their task today was to identify and explain what good feedback was, using images they could find online.
I booked the group into a PC suite and had them create a PowerPoint with five or more images that they felt best represented 'good feedback'. I'm going to share some of their points below:
In one image, the student said that feedback should be helpful, allowing students to get from A to B, like a cycle. I found this really interesting, as it reflects a lot of what the literature says about the feedback 'loop' or 'cycle'.The same student also suggested that the feedback be helpful, suggesting clear ways to improve. Another good point they made was that feedback should not tell you how to be perfect, since perfect doesn't exist; instead, it should make you feel good about yourself and your progress.
I think the school will be pleased that more than one group also identified (either directly or indirectly) 'two star and a wish'. One group of boys even went so far as to show an image of a Post-it with 'Good work' written on it, as well as another image of a marked piece of work with check marks and underlined words, suggesting that these types of feedback are okay if you're trying to identify what is good and what is bad, but that they're not very helpful for moving forwards.
A couple of other statements they made about good feedback include:
- it should make you feel confident about your work
- 'You can conquer the world with amazing feedback'
- it makes you feel 'awesome' to know where you've got to go
- it encourages you to 'do things differently'
- 'You'll get there eventually'
- it can sometimes make you feel a range of emotions (they used an image of Emojis to support their point)
- provides you with different ways to improve
- it is the 'key to success' - this idea was mentioned by two separate groups
- it enables you to reach further, allowing you to get closer to your target
- it provides the last piece in the puzzle - 'It is the missing piece that the teacher provides.'
- two or more targets would be helpful
- clear wording of the targets - not in 'teacher speak.
Again, a lot of what they said is reflected in the literature. I am going to try to use a similar task with some lower ability year 9s to see what they think. I wasn't able to book ICT with the group, so they will be making posters and images, but I will try to take pictures with my phone once the lesson is over and will report back