Trying to Get Better at Feedback

This semesterI’m committed to improving the feedback I give to students. Specifically, I’m trying to focus on the following:

Revoicing (stating back to students what I see them as saying)

Summing up with a word (giving a word to describe what they are doing)

Seeking clarification or specificity (“do you mean this or that?”)

Describing (“I see you doing…”)

Asking for help from them (as a reader who is trying to understand)

Connecting (pointing to or asking about a possible connection between ideas)

Linking to Practice (pointing out scientific things they do)

Example #1 (Describing and linking to practice)

“Using evidence to drives changes in your ideas is a huge part of science, and I see you doing that here.”

Example #2 (Describing, linking to practice, and summing up in a word”

“This is another really scientific thing to be doing–keeping track of how your thinking changes and why. In psychology, they call this ‘meta-cognition’ or thinking about your thinking “

Example #3 (Re-voicing, connecting to practice, and summing up in a word)

“I agree with you that you haven’t provided a strong argument against this idea. We’ll need to… one reason is because in science you can’t really prove that you are right 100%, so you have to work to convince that other ideas can’t be right. This tactic is sometimes referred to as falsification.”

Example #4 (Describing and seeking specificity)

“You say you kinda disagree but also kinda agree. Which parts do you agree with specifically and which do you disagree with?”

Example #4 (describing and maybe implicitly linking to practice)

“I see you not only changed your mind, but you have a reason for doing so.”

Example #4 (re-voicing and asking about a connection)

“Your idea is that when light bounces off objects it takes the color with it, then into the box. Did I get that right?… This makes me wonder how the color gets arranged so precisely (you called it an “exact replica” on previous page). Like, it’s not just a mishmash of colors. I’m curious what your thinking about this might be.”

Example #5 Describing and Asking for Help

“I see these two diagrams here that look they are trying to show me something important, but I’m having a hard time knowing what to take away. What are you trying to show me? What could you write or add to help me understand the ideas here?”

Example #6 (Re-voicing)

“This seems like a strong argument against the shadow idea. The image in the box doesn’t have color, so it can’t be just shadows. Your idea is that the light carries the color, right?”

Example #7 (describing, summing up with a word, linking to practice, asking for help)

“In science, we call statements like this one a “claim”. Often when we make a claim in science, we want to have evidence to back it up. What evidence would you give to convince me to believe your claim?”

Example #8 (connecting, seeking clarification, )

“Here you are using the word “attracts” to describe what the foil does, but earlier you said it just “allows in” the light. Attracting and allowing seem like different things the foil could be doing. Do you mean one of these ideas? Both of these ideas?”

Example #9 (connecting)

“Do you think your idea here is like the over-exposure idea that came up in class?””

One thought on “Trying to Get Better at Feedback

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: