Changing the way I gave feedback to students was high on my priority list this year. I felt that writing a few sentences on the bottom of an assessment sheet was pointless. Student’s eyes search for the mark barely caring about what the teacher has written. The mark becomes the star of the show, not what was learnt or where to go to next. I noticed that this process accelerated a fixed mindset rather then giving rise to a growth mindset and I wanted to change it.
I decided to experiment with audio feedback. I recorded my feedback using Quicktime Player directly after the assessment. I then emailed it to my students before they returned to class. I would wait a lesson before giving them back their actual marks. The time period between the assessment and feedback, and the feedback and the mark, was very deliberate. I wanted to reprioritise the mark and turn the volume up on feedback as a tool for ongoing growth and development of my students as learners.
I surveyed my preliminary students after trying out this new way of feeding forward. 100% of them found this to be useful.
- It was much more personal when I heard the teacher’s voice. I felt as if the teacher was giving direct feedback to me. It has made it easier to process the information and will allow me to apply the feedback to my work. I loved it and I think is should be done for future students :)
- LOVE IT! Because I find it more descriptive and felt like you could talk about more with the audio and I could hear the expression in your voice which helped a lot and formed the mood. Very easy to find and go back to listen.
- I was able to obtain more detail feedback and it felt more personal. I am also able to listen back to it in case I forgot anything.
- Because we can go over it as much as we like, and its different to on paper. I feel I take it in more.
- It was more personal and I was able to hear your tone.
- I feel like its nicer to hear you say what I need to work on rather than reading it.
- It made me feel so much better then when I receive my mark.
Parents have also commented on the audio feedback at parent-teacher interviews. They expressed an appreciation for the personal touch the feedback provided. I think they feel like it took me longer to do, but to be honest it is just as quick as writing a paragraph.
So the audio feedback stayed. I have used it for about 80% of my assessments this year. As the files can be quite large I save them on Google Drive and share them with students from there. I always begin formally, Audio Feedback for Assessment Task 2 – Short film for Student’s Name. I then relax and speak directly to the student. It also forces me to really think about what I am saying as I know I am being recorded. I try to be very honest and specific with my feedback, acknowledging their positive achievements and the areas for growth. I use feedback stems such as:
- I noticed…
- Something I am thinking is…
- I wonder…
- As we move onto… I would like you to think about…
- I have seen growth in….
- Creative / critical thinking was evident in ….
I have also been trying to frame my language to encourage a growth mindset. Mindset Works has an excellent resource to help get you started. You can download it here. There is also a series of fantastic articles and research material around effective feedback at Visible Learning.
For those that want to take it to the next level use the QuickTime or Screencastify to feedback over written work, video recordings, powerpoints/keynote presentations, or any project submitted electronically.