Sharing feedback is a mechanism for increasing the effectiveness of any process. Be it education or the most complex machine learning algorithms, every process depends on a feedback mechanism today for its impact. Let’s quickly understand why feedback is important in a learning journey.
Here are the 3 most important reasons why feedback matters so much:
- It helps in clarifying expectations and reaffirms common goals
- Effective feedback helps open doors for improvement
- The feedback sharing exercise builds confidence and long term mutual trust
As a tutor, sharing constructive feedback can be one of the most defining steps in your tutoring journey. We say so because impactful feedback is one important way to make sure your student progresses in the desired direction. This is common knowledge, but still, most tutors shy away from sharing feedback often.
Many tutors fear being abhorred by their students for pointing out problem areas. Many others are just too uncomfortable talking about what is working and what’s not. But before you decide to blame either yourself or your student completely for falling short of desired goals, rethink! The way you share feedback can entirely change the way your feedback is perceived and acted upon.
Talentnook brings to you 5 very easy and yet very effective ways of sharing feedback constructively:
1. Structure your feedback beforehand
Before discussing your feedback with the student make a list of topics/problems/solutions you want to discuss with them. Ask yourself these questions before structuring the feedback:
- What is it that the student can do differently?
- What can you differently in terms of pedagogical style and assessments?
- What is it that the student can not do and why?
- What is the end goal of the feedback?
Jot down all key points on a paper and also make a mental map of the discussion you want to have. Make sure you flow sequentially from a point to another without making the session a haywire mess.
Address one point thoroughly before bringing up the next during the feedback session. Remember that these sessions could be planned or informal, but your thoughts must be structured and organized in both cases.
2. Discuss actionable steps and improvement areas
Never keep the feedback open-ended. Always supplant your feedback with actionable steps. For example, giving feedback on the amount of time a student spends on Math may not be enough. You must also help them figure out how they can squeeze in more time for math on a regular school day. You may discuss their daily schedule in detail to arrive at a conclusion.
Always give your recommendations to the student that they can follow to see the change. Be willing to help them on the go and co-work with them rather than just instruct.
3. Use only positive words and an encouraging tone
It’s a huge temptation to blame the student and point out where they lagged all the while. However, the purpose of sharing feedback is to arrive at solutions rather than just discuss problems.
Often, your tone and choice of words can determine the impact of feedback on your student. They may end up taking feedback negatively and become discouraged if you use harsh words. Try to keep almost all of your words positive and encouraging. Focus on ‘doing better next time’ than enlisting reasons for ‘why things didn’t progress as expected’.
4. Be open to counter questions and also ask for feedback
Encourage your student(s) to ask questions during a feedback session. Help them open up by answering their questions with a lot of respect for their curiosity and opinion. Constructive feedback is always a two-way exercise. A closed feedback loop does more harm than good and hence, always proactively ask for feedback.
This dialogue-based feedback will help you and your student(s) build mutual trust and confidence. Make your student(s) feel included in the process of designing a better learning experience. This will make sure that they would take ownership of improvement steps too.
Also read: How To Be a Successful Private Tutor
5. Never compare or question the natural abilities of a student
Lastly, never compare your student(s) with other students of yours or their peers. Never use statements like, “he did so much better than you because he has better concentration”. The most natural way of depleting a student’s interest in learning is to compare them with others.
Keep your feedback strictly wound around you and your student. Never question their natural abilities like grasping power, concentration or natural flair for numbers. Instead of comparing the child with others, talk about their qualities and appreciate them. This will help them see you as their guide and confidant.
Constructive feedback is always supposed to be an exercise where both parties end up happier and more optimistic than before.
We hope these simple things will help you design and execute the feedback process more effectively next time. And, there is more good news!
If you are considering becoming a tutor or if you’re already one, here’s the first step – use Talentnook’s technologically enabled platform to find students in your vicinity. Talentnook is the world’s first neighborhood learning community for kids and the only place where you can find your prospective students without any search-hassle.
Sign up or log in now for a seamless tutoring journey. Happy tutoring to you!