Feedback for Learning

Feedback for Learning

Feedback for Learning

Feedback for Learning

Synopsis

Teachers may be surrounded by feedback and involved in it every day, but the notion is poorly analysed and poorly used. Feedback for Learning provides an important collection of contributions to the highly topical theme of feedback to support learning. The book spans three major areas which affect all teachers: *young people's learning *teachers' learning *organisational learning. The authors critically examine the assumption that feedback necessarily has positive learning outcomes and describe models and practices which are more likely to result in effective learning at the individual, group and organisational level.

Excerpt

It may seem that feedback is a rather small notion to write a whole book about. However, we suggest that it is time that understandings about feedback in education are examined more closely. In this chapter we adopt a broad definition of feedback which includes all dialogue to support learning in both formal and informal situations. We argue that this dialogue will be influenced by different views of learning and we need to explore feedback alongside associated beliefs about learning, to consider how feedback can be most effective in promoting learning.

Learning is increasingly being recognised as complex. Many writers now recognise the importance of the emotional and social dimension of learning as well as the cognitive (Askew and Carnell 1998; Epstein 1993; Goleman 1996; International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century 1996; Whitaker 1995). The relationship between learning and teaching is being viewed as a dynamic process, rather than a one-way transmission of knowledge (Askew and Carnell 1998; Biggs and Moore 1993; Watkins et al. 1996). Learning is supported by a whole range of processes, one of which is feedback. Gipps (1995; Gipps and Stobart 1997) argues that feedback is a crucial feature of teaching and learning processes and one element in a repertoire of connected strategies to support learning. The chapters in this book reinforce the importance of feedback in enhancing the learning of individuals, groups and organisations.

In this chapter we explore and expand the discourses of feedback. We suggest that far from being a simple and uncomplicated notion, dilemmas and tensions arise when we talk and write about feedback. Feedback is a complex notion, often embedded in a common-sense and simplistic dominant discourse. In writing about feedback we find ourselves struggling with the conceptions and language in common use. Feedback is a term used in electronics, mechanics and ecology and

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