This article will teach you the basics of giving helpful and effective feedback. First, let's take a quick look at why feedback is so important. 

Feedback can:

  • Increase critical thinking skills
  • Encourage self-reflection
  • Help you acquire and retain new knowledge

Let’s get down to the 4 elements of providing good feedback. 

#1 Feedback should be specific and actionable:

A key to providing useful feedback is giving your peer feedback that they can utilize in the future. Don’t just tell your peer they did a good job, think about why your peer's assignment is good, while also informing them of what can be improved or what could be done differently.

#2 Feedback should be clear

You might feel the need to use fancy academic language or make your critique sound nice by adding in fluffy words. But getting straight to the point will actually benefit your peer, as they won’t have to sift through confusing language. It is important though, that you balance your clear and direct feedback with a respectful tone. This leads us the third point:

#3 Remain Respectful 

As you write feedback it’s important to consciously monitor the tone and manner in which you address your peer. Remember to keep the tone positive, as we are here to help each other. 

There are a few things you can do to keep feedback constructive and not personal or overly critical. Try making suggestions, asking questions and using “I” statements. Here are some examples:

“I don’t quite understand, do you mean…”

or

“Could you provide more information here?” 

And last but not least...

#4 Feedback Karma

Put the same time and effort into giving feedback that you expect and deserve in return. Your peers will appreciate the consideration you’ve taken to provide them with personalized feedback.

You’ve taken the most important step today by reading this article and learning a few basics. Make sure to encourage your peers to read this as well, so you also get the kind of feedback you deserve.

References:

  • Hattie J. & Timperley H. (2007). The Power of Feedback
  • Sadler, R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems
  • Graham, S., Hebert, M. and Harris, K.R., 2015. Formative assessment and writing. The Elementary School Journal, 115(4), pp.523-547.
  • Kim, M., 2016. Effects of the Assessor and Assessee's Roles on Preservice Teachers' Metacognitive Awareness, Performance, and Attitude in a Technology-Related Design Task.
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