I, like many of you, became a teacher because of a teacher that I had when I was in school. During my senior year, my College Prep Writing instructor was that teacher. Part of it was his style, part of it was the size of my class, but most of it was what he got out of me. Before his class, I didn’t really like English. I enjoyed reading and I felt like I was an OK writer, but during that semester I learned more from him than I felt like I had in any other class I had taken. I know that’s not entirely true, but that’s what it felt like as a 17 year-old. I wrote and wrote and wrote for Mr. Graziano always trying to improve, not for the grade, but for his approval, my sense of accomplishment and for the sake of the writing. It was fun and madening all at the same time. Looking back at that time, he’s truly the reason I became an English major and ultimately got into education.
One of the things that he did masterfully was give me feedback on my writing. He didn’t make corrections for me, he pointed things out and allowed me to work through them. I wanted the grade, but that wasn’t my motivation. In his research Robert Marzano has identified feedback as “the most powerful single modification that enhances achievement”. In his book, Classroom Instruction that Works – Research based strategies for increasing student achievement, (Marzano, Pickering, Pollock, 2001), Marzano cites four generalizations to help us guide feedback.
Feedback should be:
- “Corrective” in nature.
- Specific to criterion
- Students can effectively provide some of their own feedback
There are lots of ways to provide this feedback and technology and the web can greatly enhance the ease of providing and access to this feedback. This document is a list of different tech tools that will allow for a variety of feedback types.
If you’re interested in trying any of these with your students, email me and we’ll set up a time to work on how to integrate this into your lesson.