Article | Give Feedback to Improve Performance

Joe walked into class one morning, happy and proud, because he had completed the essay that Mrs. Smith had assigned to the class. When Mrs. Smith asked someone from the class to volunteer and read their essay, Joe jumped. With a big smile on his face, he read the essay, and when he was done, he looked at Mrs. Smith’s face for a reaction. She didn’t look pleased; she chided him, said his essay was silly and asked him to rework the essay for the next class.

Think About It:

  • Did Mrs. Smith give Joe feedback or did she criticize Joe?
  • Could Mrs. Smith have been supportive while giving feedback?
  • Could she have appreciated the positives and at the same time recommended ways to work on his weak areas?
  • How would you feel if you were Joe?


Feedback has been defined as information about the gap between actual and referenced (predetermined) levels (Ramaprasad, 1983).

Feedback is given with the intention to bridge the gap between actual and desired; it is given with an intent to improve performance. Every student is capable and has strong areas, and weak areas that require improvement. Teachers should recognize both these aspects when they give feedback to students – because feedback is a powerful tool and can work both ways. Good feedback acknowledges and affirms strengths and motivates students while telling them how they can improve on the weaker areas.

We’ve put together some resources that explain the importance of giving constructive feedback and list guidelines that teachers should keep in mind, when they provide feedback.

Resource: Giving feedback to students: This resource explains the impact of feedback and describes the sandwich method of providing feedback.

Resource: How to Provide Constructive Feedback— That Won’t Exasperate Your Students: This resource provides simple practical guidelines for teachers to keep in mind when providing feedback.

Article: Motivating Students by Providing Feedback: This article discusses the role of feedback as a tool to motivate students.

Article: Giving Student Feedback: 20 Tips To Do It Right In this article, a fourth grade teacher describes how being criticized in class affected her, and shares tips and techniques that she uses in class to ensure that she doesn’t make her students go through the similar experience.

Video: Feedback on learning Dylan Wiliam Learning and teaching: This is an excerpt from “The Classroom Experiment” series. In this video, Professor Dylan William explains that feedback should focus on the task and not on the student.

Video: The importance of positive feedback: A geography teacher explains how positive feedback helps engage and motivate students.

Video: Specific Praise: How it Improves Learning: In this video, Carol Graham explains how specific praise helps her second grade and third grade students move ahead one step at a time.

specific praise

Video: Creating a Positive Tone with a “Pat on the Back”: In this video, Olga Ramos, a sixth grade teachers uses a simple “pat on the back” strategy to appreciate and motivate her students.

pat on the back

 Video:Malibu Mayor Thanks Teacher for Focusing on the Positive: In this video, Laura Zahn Rosenthal, the Mayour of Malibu, California thanks her teacher for appreciating her strengths.

mayor thanks teacher

Kanchan Shine

Kanchan Shine

Passionate about everything related to education. I believe that the best kind of learning happens through play, experiments and fun! I love watching how children learn and love to implement play-based, hands-on teaching approaches. I get my thrill by planning activities for my children (6 yo girl & 3 yo boy) and watching them learn while having fun!

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