Effective instructors know the value found in being a sponge for knowledge. By constantly looking for ways to improve, we become better at our jobs and our students learn to become more effective at generating and consuming knowledge. Providing students with effective feedback is an important way to help them grow in their abilities to handle new information in effective ways.
There are always a handful of students who want you to mark their assignments up until they bleed red ink, and those others who are praying just to see a smiley face or a “good job” placed prominently at the top of their assignments. It is sometimes a gamble to decide how much critiquing provides the optimum level so that everyone is treated justly. The students who want the most critique are often the same that need the least, and vice versa. So what is the optimal level for everyone? This likely varies for every student in every class, but there are some tangible rules that you can follow in order to provide efficient, effective feedback that every student can follow (or ignore) and benefit and grow from the results.
In her Faculty Focus Blog Article entitled Giving Students More Effective Feedback , Maryellen Weimer, PhD discusses 8 tangible practices to provide students with good constructive feedback that they can use, without being overwhelmed. Best of all, these tips are simple to enact and will not take an extraordinary amount of time, so they are actually useful. These tips help students by focusing their attention on areas for improvement while building the ability of students to critique their own performance, all without requiring you to spend your entire weekend writing improvement summaries for each student’s assignment. Best of all, students who learn to follow-up on good feedback should ultimately become more effective students by learning what efforts result in positive and negative feedback.
Dr. Maryellen Weimer is the editor of The Teaching Professor and has years of experience in education both as a professor and a consultant. She is scheduled to be a guest speaker at the upcoming First Annual South Alabama Conference of Teaching and Learning held at the University of South Alabama on May 16th, 2011.
You can subscribe to her blog at http://www.facultyfocus.com/topic/articles/teaching-professor-blog/feed/
This blog is provided as part of the ILC‘s commitment to the University Faculty.