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Tips for Giving Constructive Feedback as a Student Teacher


Giving constructive feedback to students allows them to grow and develop in a healthy way. Even when a student makes a mistake and requires negative feedback, a student teacher must take measures to ensure that he or she understands the mistake by providing appropriate feedback.

Feedback for Elementary School Students
At the elementary level, a student teacher must recognize the impact of his or her words on a young student. Children in elementary school will make mistakes and they need feedback that delivers the right message while putting negative commentary into a positive light.

Some ways that help student teachers give feedback to elementary students include:

  • Using a sticker system and rewarding good behavior
  • Explaining mistakes in a simple and understandable way
  • Focusing on one specific issue or situation
  • Delivering the message directly, but using age-appropriate terminology and wording
  • Looking for the good aspects of the situation and using it to finish the feedback in a positive way
  • Keeping feedback as simple as possible to avoid confusion or misunderstandings

Elementary students need positive feedback that helps them grow, but a student teacher must also recognize poor behavior and correct inappropriate actions. Rewarding positive or good behavior while explaining inappropriate behavior helps students learn and grow throughout their early education.

Constructive Feedback for Middle School Students
As students advance to middle school, they need feedback from a student teacher that guides them throughout the learning process. A student teacher must provide feedback, including negative feedback, so that students avoid inappropriate behavior and improve their abilities.

The ways a student teacher can help middle school students improve with feedback include:

  • Focusing on the facts when providing negative feedback
  • Using direct statements and avoiding statements that send a mixed signal
  • Pointing out mistakes directly and explaining an appropriate way to prevent similar mistakes in the future
  • Giving students positive and negative feedback
  • Pointing out the positive skills students show in class as well as the areas they can improve so students develop their abilities and skills
  • Observing and describing observations – an observation uses facts to help students understand the point of feedback
  • Never using personal interpretations about a situation

Although middle school students need age-appropriate feedback that encourages positive behaviors and improvements, a student teacher must also recognize that students need negative feedback to improve their skills. Students benefit from direct and simple statements that avoid judgmental terminology.

Helping High School Students Grow with Feedback
In high school, students prepare for their future. It is a time when students discover their interests, develop their goals and start thinking about their plans for adulthood. Student teachers offer guidance into the future by encouraging students and helping them learn from their mistakes.

Constructive feedback at the high school level requires non-judgmental respect. The ways a student teacher assists high school students with constructive feedback include:

  • Explanations with observations and descriptions when providing negative feedback
  • Respecting students enough to give direct statements, even when pointing out a mistake
  • Avoiding using phrases that suggest a student did not follow through with assignments
  • Pointing out mistakes directly and making suggestions for improvement with a concerned tone
  • Giving students positive feedback – constructive feedback does not focus solely on the mistakes, it also recognizes the positive aspects of a student’s projects or work in the classroom
  • Limiting the amount of feedback – focus on the most important points to prevent an overload that confuses students or creates a feeling of distrust

High school students benefit from a direct approach to feedback. Treat the students like mature adults and guide them through logic and reason when providing feedback.

Offering feedback to students throughout their educational career is essential for their growth. Even a student teacher must offer guidance by giving commentary and criticism that help a student recognize his or her mistakes.

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