Assignment: Explain the different methods of giving feedback and demonstrate good practice in giving feedback to your peers.
The different methods of giving feedback
The theory of communication detailed by Wallace (2007, p. 25) is of a ‘transmitter’ transferring a message or information to a ‘receiver’. The key area, and one that is easily overlooked, is the return route from the receiver back to the transmitter. One first needs to ‘decode’ the message - Has the receiver got the message? Have they understood the message? This is where ‘feedback’ is essential, i.e. when the receiver can show they have understood. This could be a much as the receiver repeating the message back to the sender, or as little as a silent nod of the head.
Many things get in the way of giving effective feedback. For example background noise during a conversation or constant interruptions during a meeting. However, on many occasions the art of ‘listening’ is a lost one, which is essential for effective communication. Misteil (1997) states, “Silence is a powerful, ambiguous medium of communication. Confusing, frustrating or wonderful, silence is communication”. For me, this sums up the importance of listening, and not just talking, when giving feedback.
Feedback can be done formally or informally. It can be given in writing, or given verbally. Whatever the method or process, the aim should be to motivate the learner to improve their performance in the future. Additionally, in education, feedback can confirm that the learner has understood and embraced what they have learned.
An effective technique to give feedback is the ‘feedback sandwich’. With this technique, the good news comes first with clear, specific positive feedback. Next comes the bad news – this needs to be specific, honest and constructive. Finally the feedback session is rounded off on a positive note, which ‘sandwiches’ the bad news and helps to...