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Get good at giving feedback

How can you get better at giving and receiving feedback? And why is good feedback important in the first place? Read on to find out!

“Feedback is important because it makes you more aware of what you can do. This awareness is very motivational, and it is a good foundation for your continued development and learning.”

With these remarks, Teaching Associate Professor Bente Mosgaard Jørgensen opened a student workshop on feedback held at Aarhus University in early October. The purpose of the event was to highlight the importance of feedback and give AU students some ideas about how they and their lecturers might give feedback a more prominent role in the learning process. Pro-rector Berit Eika and the Student Council were behind the event, which was organised by the Student Council in collaboration with the university’s teaching development centres.

Feedback on the agenda

Mads Kristian Warming from the Student Council is one of the co-arrangers of the event, and he is convinced of the importance of putting feedback on the agenda: “Feedback is an important issue, and one that the Student Council wish to address and highlight,” he explains, and adds that he intends to continue to work with the insights contributed by students and the teaching development centres at the workshop.

But how can you put feedback on the agenda – and who can give you feedback?

Many people probably understand feedback in terms of the situation in which a teacher gives feedback to his or her students, for example in connection with a major assignment. This type of feedback is meaningful and plays an important role in teaching. However, there is another form of feedback: the feedback you as a student can give your fellow students. This is known as ‘peer feedback’, and it’s an effective form of feedback that is easy to practise, for example in your study group. Here are eight tips on how to introduce peer feedback into your learning processes:

  1. Discuss the feedback you’ve received with your fellow students.
  2. Evaluate your own work before submitting it for assessment.
  3. Be proactive – give and seek out feedback.
  4. Explain what you want feedback on when you submit an assignment.
  5. Save important feedback and refer to it every time you work on an assignment.
  6. Write the topic of your assignment in your own words and discuss it with your fellow students.
  7. Discuss what it takes to write a good paper with your fellow students: Criteria and methods.
  8. Use your study group as a source of feedback – for example by playing the feedback game.

How to give and receive good feedback

Here is some good advice from the experts that can help you give a fellow student feedback on an assignment:

  • Give positive feedback first.
  • Always provide specific examples and arguments to back up what you’re saying.
  • Make suggestions for improvements.
  • Relate your feedback to the criteria used in assessing the assignment.
  • Don’t apologise for what you say.
  • Avoid irony and jokes.

If you are receiving feedback on an assignment from your teacher or a fellow students, there are two tips you should remember:

  • Listen and makes notes – avoid deciding whether the feedback can be used immediately.
  • Avoid explaining or defending your paper while your fellow student is giving you feedback.

Student feedback on feedback

At the end of the feedback event, the participating students were asked to discuss their wishes in relation to feedback from teaching staff and fellow students. The university teaching development centres will consider and work with these wishes. The Student Council will also consider them in the context of their ongoing focus on feedback.

Further information