Tuesday / April 23

Teaching Students How to Solicit Feedback

From the series: Developing Students’ Ownership of Learning—from a Distance, too!

Teaching Students How to Solicit Feedback 

Let’s continue our journey to developing assessment-capable, visible learners. At this point, students know what they are supposed to be learning, what success looks like, how they can monitor their progress, how to take on the challenge of learning, and how to select tools for their learning. The next step is to guide students as they learn how to solicit feedback. 

Feedback Works When It Is Received  

That’s logical, right? Have you ever given someone feedback and noticed, by the look on their face, that the feedback was not getting through? When that happens, not much change is likely. Our learners operate in the same way. The feedback must be received if it is to work. And when it is received, good things can happen in terms of students’ learning. 

How Do We Ensure That Students Receive Feedback? 

To our thinking, the likelihood of feedback being received increases when the learner asks for it. Have you ever asked for feedback from someone? If you were authentic, and the feedback was constructive, you probably learned from the experience. Both of these two conditions are important. First, the request has to be authentic and second, the feedback needs to be constructive.

So, we’ve been teaching students how to solicit feedback rather than wait passively for it. In some classrooms, students simply turn over a card. One side of the card says “working” and the other side says, “feedback needed.” We must think about how that works in distance learning. It might be as simple ask raising your virtual hand, but the starting point is to teach students that they need to be asking for feedback. 

Sample Lessons  

In these pages, we focus on teaching students to how ask for feedback: 

In addition, we need to teach students to ask the questions to get the feedback they need. It’s more than “can you help me” or “I don’t understand this.” Instead, it’s learning to ask the right question that will move learning forward. 

In these pages, we focus on teaching students the questions they can ask as they solicit feedback: 

But this will not work if students fail to see errors as learning opportunities. When students feel embarrassment, shame, or humiliation for making errors, they hide their misunderstandings or check-out of the learning. We’ve already seen this heighten in distance learning. Thus, we think it is really important to clearly communicate that we all make errors and that, when we do, it represents a chance to learn. 

In these pages, we focus on teaching students that errors are opportunities to learn: 

Looking Ahead 

In our final post in this series, we’ll explore self-questioning as another important element of students’ journeys to become visible learners. 

Written by

Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College. He is the recipient of an IRA Celebrate Literacy Award, NCTE’s Farmer Award for Excellence in Writing, as well as a Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education. He is also the author of PLC+, The PLC+ Playbook, This is Balanced Literacy, The Teacher Clarity Playbook, Grades K-12, Teaching Literacy in the Visible Learning Classroom for Grades K-5 and 6-12, Visible Learning for Mathematics, Grades K-12The Teacher Credibility and Collective Efficacy Playbook and several other Corwin books.  Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is Professor of Literacy in the Department of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University. The recipient of the 2008 Early Career Achievement Award from the National Reading Conference, she is also a teacher-leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College and a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California. She has been a prominent Corwin author, publishing numerous books including PLC+The PLC+ PlaybookThis is Balanced LiteracyThe Teacher Clarity Playbook, Grades K-12Engagement by DesignRigorous Reading, Texas EditionThe Teacher Credibility and Collective Efficacy Playbookand many more.  To view Doug and Nancy’s books and services, please visit Fisher and Frey Professional Learning. 

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