IATEFL 2017: Does feedback work?

A summary of Loraine Kennedy’s main points from the talk ‘In one ear and out the other: does feedback work?’ You can access the session here (again, won’t embed).


This talk was specifically about in-service feedback for teachers, not about feedback on training courses

If we are not giving feedback for the right reasons, and getting the right results, then why bother?

Studies (e.g. Kluger and Denisi 1996) have shown that only a third of feedback has a positive effect – two-thirds has either a negative or no effect. With this in mind, Kennedy considers how to change the way we approach professional learning, and the impact of feedback on teaching performance and ultimately student learning.

What is feedback?

  • Feedback is limiting the discrepancy between current performance and future goals.
  • We often think of feedback in narrow terms (e.g. observations). Hattie and Timperly (2007) point out that even reading a book related to teaching can be a form of feedback.
  • Only feedback that is sought and accepted is likely to have an impact


Post-it note votes

A quick post-task for poster work. We’ve been doing quite a bit of post-it note voting recently, students seem to like it.

Display posters around the room. In this case, we were designing environmentally friendly parks. Tell students that we will vote for the best ones. Elicit/negotiate different categories to vote for:

  • Most environmentally friendly park
  • Best English
  • Craziest design
  • Etc…

Choose 4 or so categories. Give learners 4 post-it notes each. They write a category on each post-it, then go round and read/look at each poster. Once they’ve chosen their winner for each category they stick the post-it note next to it. Remember to point out that they can’t choose their own work!

post-it-1      post-it       post-it2

When everyone’s finished, do a quick tally and announce the winners.

What happens if some teams don’t get any votes? I normally rig it so that doesn’t happen!

Quick, simple, fun.

I’m writing a series of short posts in response to Martin Sketchley’s blog challenge. You can view his new blog here.