January 18, 2022
In the field of education, we think too narrowly about feedback. We think it is the comments we leave on student work. We ensure that the comments aren’t only negative but also positive. We try to be as specific as possible.
Because we are focused on the individual trees, we miss the view from 33,000 feet. We need to ask ourselves: what are the larger learning objectives? What are the scaffoldings (structures/systems) that will foster the desired results? As a teacher, I want my students to be curious, joyful, creative, and collaborative learners. To pivot students away from a focus on grades and towards becoming this type of learner, I suggest we expand our thinking on feedback so both students and teachers are able to move seamlessly among the learning objectives for the class, the specific goals of the assignment, and how the student is developing as a learner.
To help foster this shift, I propose we turn to the OED’s (Oxford English Dictionary) two definitions for feedback, noun: 1) “The return of a fraction of the output signal from one stage of a circuit, amplifier, etc., to the input of the same or…