What does effective feedback look like in the classroom?

Teaching should not be a one-size fits all approach. The same applies to feedback. Effective feedback is not in a specific format or follows certain rules. If the feedback is focused, clear and motivational, it is effective for pupils.  


When deciding the type of feedback to give your students, consider the following:  

  • Is it targeted to celebrate or highlight a skill or concept?  
  • Does it give the student direction?  
  • Is it within a relevant timescale?  
  • Is it fair, honest and clear?  


What is feedback in teaching and learning?  

Essentially, feedback is just different ways constructive advice can be given. It is a process the pupil should be as engaged in as the teacher. When giving a student feedback (especially in written form), it is important to reflect on how impactful this advice will be. Feedback in teaching and learning should not be overly detailed annotations on students’ written work that will never be looked at.  


We know Ofsted don’t look for specific formats of marking and feedback in schools. They monitor to see if your school’s policy is being consistently implemented in an effective way. It Is important to share feedback in a mixture of different ways. First, we must teach the children how to receive (and act on) feedback.  


You may spend hours marking an extended write in detail, expecting the students to engage with your comments. If they are unaware of their role to play in this two-way interaction, it is a wasted exercise.  


But what is the difference between feedback and criticism? It is a fine line that depends on an individual’s personality and sensitivities. Feedback intends to be helpful, whereas criticism can be thoughtless and without tact.  


We share the dos and don’ts for giving feedback in our free supply teacher CPD on the ‘Feedback Mix’. This free training also covers avoiding an emotional response when sharing advice with students.  


Why is feedback so important in teaching?

Pupils can identify the product of hard work and persistence.  

  • Students know what direction their learning is heading in, making them active in their own journey.  
  • Problem-solving and acting on feedback are a part of life. Building positive experiences during school time can help with later life.  
  • Acting on effective feedback helps pupils to progress and achieve their targets.  
  • It helps to build a strong working relationship.


What does effective feedback look like in the classroom?

The beauty of teaching is that you can pour a little of your own personality, interests and humour into the way you interact with students. Giving feedback is no different. Effective feedback will vary from subject to subject. You are unlikely to give the same verbal advice or written suggestions in a PE lesson as you are for English.  

You will have favoured (or expected) marking and feedback techniques to use. But some techniques can be time-consuming and a little on the dull side! Consider trying a few of the five marking and feedback techniques we share in our free feedback CPD training. One of our favourites is the use of a code system to reduce pen-to-paper marking. 

The Institute of Supply Teachers (IoST) is a completely free platform for supply teachers. A safe space to offer free CPD, support and advice about all things teaching. Register today and gain access to all free CPD sessions.