Take it personal
Connection before correction
I have chosen to use this wise phrase by Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott as the headline of my blog entry today: giving feedback to students.
Time is golden, no need to say this. How we manage time is in fact one of the biggest stressors in Life and can cause anxiety even illnesses. Mindfulness can actually help us regulate this. What we do with our time is in fact based on priorities and to devote TIME to students is certainly a priority for this teacher. Specially when it comes to letting students know, learn, and register what they are doing well and what they are not doing so well.
I am not particularly fond of having students check their final marks on online platforms either really by looking at a «cold» list that someone has hung up on an empty board. I believe this moment to be one of the most important in the learning process. I certainly like to take it personal as «connection comes before correction» and this key session will transform the rest of the course indeed.
how you give feedback matters
In fact, how you give feedback matters. In the middle of the school year or during end-of-term lessons, organise your session so that everybody has a chance to go through their summary of assignments and results, or look at their exam papers (with answer keys) and assessment sheets (with the teacher’s notes or marks). While they are doing this stay somewhere visible and available for any group curiosities, questions or suggestions. Stay calm, open and receptive as students may come up with good proposals .
After this first stage invite them to meet you at «the feedback corner» which should be a welcoming place specially prepared to discuss issues concerning their learning process. Take the time, one by one, to help them. With a focus on solutions. Encourage them to do some planning and commitments. Success is sometimes a matter of attitude, concern and resilience.
Talk to them. Explain to them nicely and clearly where they must make the biggest efforts, how they can refresh concepts, where they can find useful materials. Restore their self-esteem if needed, and most importantly encourage them to keep going!
This does take TIME when you have large groups but I can assure you the benefits of this just one session are big. For the students and for the group as a whole. They will leave the room much more aware of their handicaps and also their assets which will change their attitude during lessons afterwards. It is the 80/20 rule!
La vida, sin prisa