Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)
Look at learning or mastery in the fields as diverse as sports, the arts, languages, the sciences or recreational activities and the research evidence is clear: great teachers give great feedback. Quality teaching and student performance are key matters of concern to educators everywhere. We know from a vast range of studies that the teacher is the major in-school influence on student achievement. How we improve teacher effectiveness and lift student achievement can, however, seem daunting. In this article the author focuses on teacher-student feedback and suggests that schools begin the professional conversation with eight questions: (1) what are the present approaches? (2) Are the methods and criteria clear? (3) Do the students understand what is meant by feedback? (4) Is the feedback to students effective? (5) Is the feedback focused, comprehensive and improvement-oriented? (6) How does feedback to students relate to parental feedback? (7) How can teachers provide students with improved feedback? (8) How will the school know if it works? What evidence is needed? The answers to these questions will provide an important foundation for improving the quality of teaching and student achievement. Feedback is, however, only one part of the equation: it is not a substitute or remedy for poor teaching. [Author abstract, ed]
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