High School and Senior College

What to do with the feedback teachers give students?

One of the jobs teachers spend a lot of time doing is marking and correcting pieces of work — work that has been written, presented, built or crafted. Teachers will look at this work through a certain lens and look to see if the piece meets the criteria or guidelines set for the task. We will commend students when they have met the criteria and provide support when we see gaps in the learning.

It is this latter type of feedback that students can have difficulty hearing, as it can make students feel uncomfortable and defensive. The key to improving and growing is learning to ‘make the uncomfortable comfortable’. The comments and feedback teachers give are not personal, they are criteria and task related. The feedback shows the clues to solve problems or improve skills for next time. We want students to continually improve and grow.

Having this feedback on hand when completing the next piece of work is also worthwhile, as it helps students solve problems more efficiently. We often hear students talk about how hard they worked on something and it is not fair that their grade does not reflect the time and effort they invested. The time students take to complete the tasks is not measured, thus efficiency is important. This ensures students have more time to devote to play, sport, friends and family.

Using feedback as a golden ticket to success and improvement for next time is important. We encourage students to speak to their teachers about the feedback they receive and seek clarification if it is unclear. Making the uncomfortable comfortable is a key to learning to learn.

Susan Pascoe — Deputy Principal High School and Senior College