Author Topic: Teacher Training Lesson: How to Give Effective Feedback on Student Writing  (Read 2277 times)

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Offline Cassandra.Rosado

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This is a 30-minute teacher training lesson to help ESL/EFL teachers learn how to give effective feedback on their students' essays. This can be modified to take much longer than 30 minutes. Its goal is to guide inexperienced writing teachers to learn and to inspire experienced writing teachers to improve their feedback techniques. It seemed to just generate good discussion overall.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2011, 10:57:39 PM by Cassandra.Rosado »

Offline Randall Sadler

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Re: Teacher Training Lesson: How to Give Effective Feedback on Student Writing
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 08:50:41 AM »
Great Stuff Cassandra!

Study after study shows that teacher feedback is:
1.  Important
2.  Highly desired by student
3.  Takes a lot of time!!!!

So any information on it designed for teachers is greatly appreciated.
 :book
Randall Sadler, Site Owner
Asst. Prof, Linguistics, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  www.eslweb.org
     

Offline kovajou

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Re: Teacher Training Lesson: How to Give Effective Feedback on Student Writing
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 06:30:33 PM »

I always struggle with how much feedback/correction I should provide for my students.  One of the things that I found works for me is having the students submit their essays in paper form, and then making corrections in the body of their text on the margins and between the lines as well as at the end of an essay.  I think that for a student to receive a paper that is written all over would be a little discouraging and maybe even intimidating.  In order to prevent discouraging my students I usually write something nice and general at the very end of their paper, right after the provided (hopefully) reference list. The first comment is always positive and does not exceed one or two sentences.  Then I make sure to separate my critical comments into a new paragraph. Sometime it helps to write them up in the form of bullet points so that the students could easily see the things that need to be fixed, and could go point by point, crossing out the ones they have already corrected. 

I believe that making corrections on paper prevents the students from automatically clicking “accept changes” in their Word document.  Of course, the main struggle is always about how much grammar and awkward sentences correction I should do.  I usually cave in and correct everything that could be salvaged in its present form. (However, sometimes student writing is so unintelligible that a sentence or a whole paragraph needs to be rephrased and rewritten altogether). 

With every new draft I repeat the same process again.  Perhaps there is a better way of doing it but I am yet to discover it.  At least - I am trying to convince myself - they will have to actually read my comments and maybe, (just maybe) they will change something in their writing, instead of just mindlessly clicking away on the computer. I guess I do it this way because when I was a student trying to learn a foreign language, I was frustrated at my instructors who did not correct EVERY mistake that I made, be it grammar, style, syntax or pragmatics, but hid behind global feedback instead.  Maybe at least some of my students today feel the same way.

« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 06:33:04 PM by kovajou »

Offline Sebastian_Rocheleau

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I think one thing that needs to be added to this training is how to monitor how much of student feedback is turning from input into intake. From my experience in feedback training seminars, instructors tend to focus on how to give feedback and don't really follow up with students to see if they actually understood what the feedback meant. Some suggestions to help teachers understand how effective their feedback was for their students include
  • a follow up questionnaire for students
  • an individual conference where students confirm and clarify the teachers feedback
  • some form on student reflection in paper or media form (I recommend screencasts if you have time) on the feedback and how they plan to incorporate it into the assignment

Offline Cassandra.Rosado

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Oh, wow, it's been a while since I looked at these materials! Great ideas, Sebastian! It's very important to realize that giving feedback is just one step in the overall writing process. As you've pointed out, understanding better how students understand and incorporate your feedback will help you to give better feedback. I personally find individual conferences to be very valuable and rewarding, but when that's not feasible, reflections or reactions through essay or video could be great alternatives. I've also heard of teachers having their students write a "cover letter" to explain and justify the changes that they made from 1st draft to final draft (and may how they incorporated peer and teacher feedback), but I haven't tried this yet. I'm still on the quest for the best strategies for teacher feedback, and while there's no definitive end to this particular quest, hopefully it will keep me invested and innovative!