Was the pupil given appropriate and timely feedback during the session?
Feedback is an essential part of learning, but the process must be balanced. Your pupil needs to have a clear picture of how they are doing, against their learning objectives, throughout the lesson. They should be encouraged when performing well and coached when a problem or learning opportunity occurs. However, a constant stream of words, however technically accurate, given at an unsuitable time may be de-motivating or dangerous. Sitting quietly and saying nothing can also be an immensely powerful form of feedback in some situations.
All feedback should be relevant, positive, and honest. It is not helpful if your pupil is given unrealistic feedback, which creates a false sense of their own ability. Where possible, feedback should not be negative. Rather than saying somebody has a weakness, consider expressing it as a learning opportunity. However, if they need to be told something is wrong or dangerous there is no point in waffling. Your pupil should have a realistic sense of their own performance.
Feedback is a two-way street. Your pupil should, ideally, prompt it with you responding to your pupil’s questions or comments. Your pupil’s feedback should never be overlooked or disregarded.
Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:
- providing feedback in response to questions from your pupil
- seeking appropriate opportunities to provide feedback that reinforces understanding or confirms achievement of learning objectives
- providing feedback about failure to achieve learning objectives that helps your pupil achieve an understanding of what they need to do to improve
- providing feedback that your pupil can understand
- providing consistent feedback that is reinforced by body language
Indications of lack of competence include:
- providing feedback, a long time after an incident so that your pupil cannot link the feedback to what happened
- providing feedback that overlooks a safety critical incident
- continuously providing feedback when this may be distracting your pupil
- failing to Check your pupil’s understanding of feedback
- providing feedback that is irrelevant to your pupil’s learning objectives, for example commenting on their personal appearance
- refusing to hear reasonable feedback about your own performance
Again, as part of our chunking methodology we are constantly engaged in two-way feedback. If we are engaging in this after short bursts of activity it is likely to be timely, if it helps the learner to make sense of the situation we are discussing and to make plans for the next burst of activity based on our reflection, and then learning takes place then it was appropriate.