The simple rule for giving feedback

When it comes to giving feedback, surely there is one very simple rule that needs to be followed.

It doesn’t matter if the feedback is verbal or written – or even involves using different coloured highlighters – and it applies whether you’re giving feedback to a student, a trainee teacher or a colleague.

The rule? Feedback should always be useful.

By useful, I mean it should help them ditch what isn’t working, improve what needs improving, strengthen what is already going pretty well and even just keep them going in the same direction if something is looking, well, great.

If it’s not useful, then don’t feed it back. If it’s not useful, then it’s just there to fill space or time really. Worse still, if it’s not useful, and is on the negative side, is it just being used to make them feel… bad?

So it sounds obvious, but whether it’s positive or negative, written or not, make sure your feedback is useful – or don’t bother.

Flickr Photo: quinn.anya – CC BY-SA

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