The ABC of ELT

4 Tiny Modifications to Feedback Which Have a Huge Impact

4 tiny feedback modifications with a huge impact

Over time teaching, I’ve picked up a couple of little tricks to help make sure that feedback from students go well. These are little modifications to feedback centering around open class feedback to the teacher but they can make feedback more effective, motivating and interesting.

1. Think, Pair, Share

This was the first modification to feedback I came across from my TESOL training colleagues. The idea is simple, you give students time to do the task alone, then check with their partner and finally check with the teacher. This allows for some practice production and the possibility for more communication when checking.

There are some disadvantages, especially when used all the time such as

2. Only ask students with the right answer

One of the ideas I came across which is very useful with shier students is to only ask students who I know have the correct answers. This requires careful monitoring to make sure that I don’t ask a student for the answer to the question they don’t have the right answer for and it may require heavier intervention to ensure that at least one student has the correct answer to every question.

3. Students do a gallery walk, take a card and answer that one

This one is similar to the last but lets students self select their ability. If you have a variety of questions around the room on the walls, students can go round in pairs and then select only one to answer. In theory, the students should select the questions which they feel more confident about. Of course, sometimes this doesn’t work out when a weak student doesn’t act quickly. leading to the student picking one of the most difficult questions which they don’t know the answer to as all the others have been taken.

4. Gallery walk explanations for answers

Another option after an activity when students give their opinions on a topic is to handout post-its (or similar paper), then students write down a response on that post it. These are placed on the walls and then the whole class walks round and makes predictions over what was the topic or question for the response, or who wrote it.

Obviously, this doesn’t work for more controlled practice activities like a gap fill, but it can help students to practice question forms by getting them to recall the question structure, great for A2 and B1 levels.

Any other ideas?

There are plenty of ways to radically change feedback from activities that probably could also be mentioned but I wanted to focus on the couple of tiny changes which I’ve noticed can have a huge impact. Have you picked up any other small changes which have a big impact?

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

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