Handout of this page: PDF Version
- Effective feedback requires that a person has a goal, takes action to achieve the goal, and receives goal-related information about his or her actions.
- Tangible and transparent
- Any useful feedback system involves not only a clear goal, but also tangible results related to the goal.
- Effective feedback is concrete, specific, and useful; it provides actionable information. (Judgement vs. observation)
- Even if feedback is specific and accurate in the eyes of experts or bystanders, it is not of much value if the user cannot understand it or is overwhelmed by it.
- Timely (not necessarily immediate)
- In most cases, the sooner I get feedback, the better.
- Adjusting our performance depends on not only receiving feedback but also having opportunities to use it.
- Clearly, performers can only adjust their performance successfully if the information fed back to them is stable, accurate, and trustworthy.
“The most ubiquitous form of evaluation, grading, is so much a part of the school landscape that we easily overlook its utter uselessness as actionable feedback. Grades are here to stay, no doubt—but that doesn’t mean we should rely on them as a major source of feedback.” (Grant Wiggins)
Feedback vs. Criticism
- Criticism is focused on what we don’t want; feedback is focused on what we want.
- Criticism is focused on the past; feedback is focused on the future.
- Criticism is focused on weakness; feedback helps to build up strengths.
- Criticism deflates; feedback inspires.
- Criticism says, “You are the problem.” Feedback says, “We can make this better.”
Quick Tips for Offering Feedback
- Remain objective
- Depersonalize feedback
- Avoid inflammatory language
- Offer solutions
- Base feedback on expectations/standard of excellence (not perfection)
- Relate to your personal experience
- Keep it positive!
Quick Tips for Receiving Feedback
- Don’t take it personally
- Actively listen to feedback
- Remind yourself of the purpose of feedback
- Analyze feedback
- Prepare a plan to implement valid suggestions