Teacher feedback: "very good"
Submitted by Susan Finn Miller on February 5, 2014 - 10:49am
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Hello friends, An article I read some time ago by Wong and Waring (2009) made me think about my feedback to learners. How often do I respond by saying “very good” when students give a correct answer to my questions and then quickly move on? I recognized that my behavior was similar to what the authors described. When students responded to a question correctly, I would often say “good” and quickly go on to the next thing.
Wong and Waring suggested that when I quickly move on after a student gives a correct response, other students who may still have questions are often reluctant to ask, thinking they are the only ones who did not understand. When students give a correct answer, the authors suggest that a useful way to respond would be to HESITATE, similar to the way we do when students offer an incorrect answer, and ask the student to explain her thinking. In this way, the student responder gets to deepen her understanding and enhance her academic language skills, and the rest of the students get to hear the thinking that supported the correct answer to the question.
Students are well aware of how teachers respond when their answers are right or wrong. The authors argue that HESITATING for both correct and incorrect answers sends learners a different signal and allows space for students to explain their thinking. This practice also opens a window for other students to raise questions.
What do you think about responding with “good” or “very good”? Do you think the authors’ idea about hesitating in response to both correct and incorrect answers has merit? What are some good strategies you employ for providing feedback to learners?
Assessment COP Moderator
Reference: Source: Wong, J. & Waring, H. Z. (2009). ‘Very good’ as a teacher response. ELT Journal 63(3).