I recently observed a teacher who wants to work on the feedback stages of her lesson, making sure that she is as responsive as possible to the needs of her learners and helping her as part of her DipTESOL studies. Most of the reading and methodology we’ve found about feedback has been connected to error correction and upgrading language. We haven’t been able to find very much about feedback on content and skills work and how to do it effectively. Please share if you can recommend anything!
In our post-observation discussion, one thing we discussed was the pacing of feedback, and that not everyone was fully involved in feedback stages. Feedback also didn’t really feed into later stages of the lesson. We identified that this was partly because the method of post-activity feedback chosen didn’t always appropriately match the activity itself – something neither of us have been specifically trained in. As a result, we came up with a series of questions to use to help her (and me!) when planning a lesson to work out how to get the most out of post-activity feedback.
- What is the purpose of the task?
Is it comprehension of specific information?
Brainstorming ideas for a storytelling activity?
- How can you most efficiently find out whether the purpose of the task has been achieved in the lesson?
By looking at students’ books while monitoring.
By students putting their ideas onto mini whiteboards, then walking around and looking at other people’s ideas.
- What is the feedback stage actually for?
To make sure the students know the correct answers. To get a general idea of how well students have initially understand what they listened to.
To steal ideas from other students ready to use later in the lesson.
- Where is the learning happening? For who? How many students are actively involved in this?
In pairs, students don’t just say what’s correct, but why, referring back to the text/transcript. If they’re not sure about something they circle it. The teacher monitors and notices what is circled to deal with in the next stage of the lesson.
You ask them to add ideas from other people to their whiteboards.
What other questions would you suggest? Would you use them in this order? Would you edit/remove any?
For example, in the lesson I observed there was rather a long listening task where students had to fill in a table with 4 rows and columns about the problems presenters had had during their presentations. Students checked their answers in pairs, then some of them wrote up the notes onto the whiteboard. Of the eight students in the class, four were writing up answers and the others were watching. In the peer check, one student who has general problems with listening comprehension had struggled a little with some of the points in the listening, but most were fine. It took a relatively long time (3-4 minutes) and once it was confirmed that the answers were correct, they were rubbed off the board.
Using the questions above, how would you approach the feedback from the activity in your lesson? How could it feed into later stages of the lesson to develop the students’ listening skills beyond pure comprehension?