Tag Archives: feedback

#100wordTandL Irresistible Feedback

Research says a fraction of our feedback to students has impact on learning. Knowing this ought to make us look up from our marking labours and try to work out where we might be wasting time.

Using a ‘feedback wall’ is immediate and irresistible. Set a challenging discussion-based activity for groups. While they talk, you eavesdrop. Use post-its to ask questions or make comments to develop ideas. Simply stick them on the wall near the students and watch them race to read what you have written once you give the signal.

Your feedback will have greater impact. Try it!


The power of the red pen!


As a teacher I value pupil voice and understand the importance of quality feedback which needs to be more of a conversation than a statement. In practice though it can be difficult to achieve this without it becoming unmanageable. One change to my teaching practice this week has really made a difference to the quality of the feedback between myself and my class. The red pen!

End of the red pen as a teacher’s weapon

Under guidance from GwE our school dropped our use of the red pen this year and switched to green. I have never really appreciated the negative connotations of the red pen and believe that if you switch colour any negative connotations pupils do have towards one colour pen will simply be switched to the new colour. As a result of our switching we had a stock of red pens going spare in the store cupboard.

Reintroduction of the red pen for pupil voice

Red is naturally a prominent colour that stands out and it stands to reason that as a teacher you want to hear the learners voices as loudly and clearly as possible. Giving learners ownership of the red pens in order to make comments on their own work has really made the thoughts of the learners obvious within their exercise books and highlighted any changes they make to their work as part of the editing process following completion of draft pieces of work.

The result of red pen revival

Since using the red pen learners have really thought about what the good points of their work are and also been keen to show that they know how to improve. As a teacher this saves me from making suggestions for improvements that they can make for themselves and instead focus on the more subtle ways that they can raise the quality of their work. It is such a simple and effective idea that I can’t understand why I didn’t think of it earlier.

Viva la red pen!

Cross-posted from Enjoying Education

Public Critique: A practical example

A recent post on creative learning environments Pimp my Classroom: 8 ways to confuse the cleaner provoked lots of interest and some very positive feedback. One suggestion, the personalised ‘critique’ space, or gallery, is a very straightforward idea that is easily transferable across subjects. It’s not a complicated concept and has been extensively written about: Read here and also here. I would encourage all St Peter’s staff to follow these links. Both examples, by English teachers, cite Ron Berger and his work ‘Ethic of Excellence’ as the initial inspiration. Berger’s video ‘Austin’s Butterfly’ has certainly done the rounds, and more on that can be found here.

As previously explained, students were each given a display space. My Year 12’s customised theirs with a previously made self-portrait. Not essential but heightened their sense of ownership. We had the benefit of exhibition boards but this exercise could work equally well with noticeboards or designated wall spaces.

gallery critique_boards

The groundwork prior to the session is of particular importance. Before commencing the critique students had already been introduced to the concept via ‘Austin’s Butterfly’ video. Importantly the specific focus of the critique was outlined, and support materials were accessible.


Click on example above for pdf

Students were presenting ‘first draft’ photographic experiments in response to ‘The Selfie’ and contemporary approaches to self-portraiture. They were asked to pin up their work, initially annotating alongside it, justifying and explaining their decisions using coloured pencils and colour coded key vocabulary to comment on different areas, in this case Technical, Contextual, Visual or Conceptual Values of the image. These resource sheets are double sided and include examples of colour-coded analysis. They are laminated A3 size and kept easily accessible by students as required.


Students then circulated adding feedback (Honest, Helpful & Specific) for each other in the relevant colours also ensuring the use of correct subject specific vocabulary. Time was then provided at the end for students to read, discuss and take on board the peer feedback provided. Examples of these first drafts can be found here. Subsequent time is then provided for development and further critique.

‘Students need to get used to drafting and redrafting their work with regular Public Critique sessions where students offer each other advice and guidance on how to improve their work’
@LearningSpy with reference to Ron Berger