• James Kieft

Feedback and Motivation

Updated: May 23


In this month's blog post I am going to explore some of my approaches to student feedback and motivation.


Just like my most recent previous posts the theme is the same as this months #TeamsEDUchat that takes place on Twitter today 17th May at 3pm UK time to join just search #TeamsEDUchat.


As teachers we know the importance of providing students with good constructive feedback that helps them to develop and understand how they can improve their work as they progress through their course of study.


Before I go on to explore some of my approaches to providing feedback I thought I would touch on some of the techniques I use when it comes to assessing student work. We know that marking work can be a very time consuming process especially when it comes to reading students' type written submissions.


As I regularly mention in my blog post I am dyslexic, this means I find reading takes longer, to get around this I make use of Immersive Reader, so I can have the document read to me. By working this way and listening to the students' submission I find I get a greater understanding of what they are saying and this in turn helps me to provide appropriate feedback.


Here is my video guide using Immersive reader within MS word.


So not to overload the student I like to provide feedback mapped to assignment specific criteria, I find this helps them to understand the context of the feedback being provided. It also makes it easier to highlight the progress the students has made on specific elements which is good for their motivation.


To help the students relate my feedback to relevant parts of their text I like to make use of the comments feature that is available most of the office applications. This means I can highlight a specific part of their text that my feedback is relating to and then add a comment.


When it comes to formative feedback I find this feature has an additional use in that students can acknowledge the feedback by either replying to the comment or mark it as resolved.


I find this way of working is more effective than if I write an extended feedback summary at the end of the document, students are less likely to engage with it.


In addition to using the written comments I like to make use of audio and video comments, I know that Microsoft Teams has recently launched a video feedback feature within the assignment function of Microsoft Team but as yet I have not had a chance to make use of it. And you can record add audio in Microsoft OneNote.


When it comes to using voice comments, I have found two extensions that work really well with Google Docs.


The first of those is Kaizena. It is very easy to add the extension to Google docs, when you launch the app it opens in a side window within Google docs. Just like with normal comments feature you can select the text you want to comment then and then click on the microphone icon to record a voice message when you have finished recording you can click stop and post and it an the selected text appears in sidebar with a play button below enabling the students to listen back to the feedback.


Here is my video guide on using Kaizena


The second tool is Mote this is a extension for Chrome, once added you can select the text with the document you are marking and insert a comment, the comment dialogue box will appear and it will include an option to record and add an audio comment.


Here is my video guide for using Mote


The advantage of using audio comments is that students can listen back again and again until they’re completely clear on the feedback you are providing.


From a student motivation aspect there are two techniques I like to employ both of which are widely known. The first is a praise sandwich. This is where you detail what they have done well followed by what they need to improve and then finish a positive comment to keep them motivated.


The second is the Medal and mission. This is very similar to the praise sandwich in that you detail what the student has done well followed by what needs to improve and the clear steps they need to achieve that goal.For me the in addition to the any written or recorded feedback the key is ensuring there is time for a 2 way discussion as this provides an opportunity for the student to clarify things


For most of this blog I focused on techniques that are probably more common with formal types of assessment wether they be formative or summative.


However those informal feedback conversations that happen during lessons are equally important as it allows the students to directly apply what they have been fed back or reassures them they are on the right track


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