Are you looking for a key to motivating your student? Are you trying to review your teaching/learning process to improve? In a world full of confusion, reinforcement and positive feedback can make all the difference. Students often wonder if they are doing it right or hitting the mark. What we as parents, guardians, and teachers say in the form of feedback can make all the difference.
What is Feedback?
Feedback is the act of letting a person know how they are doing. It is typically given by the individual that is in leadership. Feedback is important whether the learner did a good job or a poor job. It’s easy to give positive feedback on a job well done, but it can also be feedback given in a positive manner on a task that was not done correctly. Feedback of both types is necessary for the learner to progress because it gives the provides a clear understanding of where they are at, how they are doing, and the direction they need to move in for the future.
Why should we give positive feedback?
As a beginning teacher, I found myself in many back to school pre-service training sessions. Even though it’s been nearly 20 years ago I can still remember the words of an amazing veteran teacher. In her wisdom she said, “Look for every opportunity to stop and encourage your students. Those moments can be what they need to blossom.” That stuck with me, teens need moments when we invest in them. Another important concept was the idea of always giving a positive comment when you have to give a negative one. But, the bottom line is feedback – reinforcement. We all know we need it, adults and students alike. But, we often don’t realize what a huge difference it can make.
How does Positive Feedback affect the learner?
Statistics clearly show that feedback is very important to people. Feedback of any sort is important because it is a clear indication of how we are doing. Innately each of us wants to succeed and knowing where we are on that continuum is important in enabling success. Everyone wants to know how they are doing and statistics back that up. Research indicates that in general, people appreciate leaders that give both negative and positive feedback twice as much than those leaders that avoided giving feedback all together. So, whether or not the leader gave positive or negative versions didn’t matter – it was just the fact that they had given feedback that was appreciated!
Feedback done in the right way, can be life changing!
Be specific – Don’t say “Good job.” That is just not clear enough. It’s affirmative and positive, but so general. Learners need to hear exactly what it was that was good and what made it good. Something like, “You did a great job because you…” and “Did you notice that it was more… than your previous attempt?”
It is important to receive feedback as soon as possible. Don’t wait! Research indicates that it will be much more effective if received right away!
Most often we have a goal that we are attempting to enable our children to move toward. It’s very effective if we can give feedback in context with achieving that goal!
Present feedback in a way that is not:
Pressuring – our learners may not benefit from feedback if they feel that it is an attempt to control them
Competitive – Try not to give feedback in a way that will make a child feel like they are competing against another. Don’t ever say, “If you would do this like… does it.”
Hovering – Sometimes too much feedback can feel like we’re hovering. It’s great to give feedback in moderation! Don’t overuse it, because it will become commonplace. Find the balance by watching how your student responds.
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]