February 4, 2024

Feedback and Communication: Effective ways to provide feedback to students and encourage open communication

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How To

Effective feedback and communication are pivotal elements in the educational journey of students. Educators bear the responsibility of equipping their students with the necessary tools for success, and fostering open lines of communication is a key driver of enhanced learning outcomes. When professors or instructors engage in open communication and provide constructive feedback, it cultivates a sense of involvement and motivation among students within the classroom.

An academic study published in Computers and Education: Artificial Intelligence, Volume 2, made a significant discovery: automatic feedback delivered by professors can lead to a remarkable 65.07% increase in student performance. For those students who thrive when they can interact with their instructors and ask questions, it is imperative to encourage them to do so. Often, the queries raised by these students address matters that other peers may also be pondering, leading to collective clarity and enriched learning experiences for all.

This approach not only fosters heightened student engagement but also reinforces their active participation in lectures, which ultimately contributes to their academic growth. Research further substantiates this notion, revealing a strong positive correlation of 0.572 between students' success and the degree of openness in communication maintained by their professors.

It is well-established that students who develop close, supportive relationships with their professors tend to achieve higher levels of academic excellence. Such students benefit from the valuable guidance offered by their mentors, enabling them to refine and elevate their academic performance. Additionally, these students tend to be more enthusiastic and participative during lectures

A nurturing relationship between students and professors can extend beyond academics, with students viewing their professors as mentors who can shape not only their educational journey but also their career aspirations. Consequently, students often approach professors with requests for additional opportunities beyond the course curriculum. For professors interested in mentorship, maintaining strong relationships with their students is not only beneficial for the student's growth but also aligns with their interests in fostering the next generation of professionals.

Several strategies can be used to provide effective feedback to students

First, identify the type of feedback you are giving to students. There are two kinds of feedback: Formative and Summative. Formative feedback is when students can get feedback as they are learning or doing an activity. Summative feedback is when students get feedback at the end of an activity. Formative feedback is good when professors are teaching lessons. If there are activities that are incorporated in the lesson this would be a really good type of feedback that can be used to future help students understand the material. It helps students get clarification as they are learning which helps them be less confused in the lesson and they can keep up with what is being taught. Summative feedback is mostly used when giving feedback on assignments or tests. This helps students know what they need to improve in the future.

An illustration of types of communication

Types of communication and Ways to Use Them

A chart of Formative Feedback in the Writing Process

Formative Feedback in the Writing Process

Secondly, set clear expectations about your feedback policy. Communicating clear expectations helps students understand what kind of feedback is going to be provided to them. This also lets students know what kind of questions students can ask and when to look forward to receiving feedback. It is best to communicate these at the start of the lecture or the first day of the academic year. It would be a good idea to post these expectations on the syllabus so students can refer back to the guidelines. So there is no confusion about what to ask the professor and what not to ask.

Thirdly, it is important to provide students with timely and consistent feedback. Providing feedback right after an assignment completely allows students to ask questions, evaluate and assess their performance, and make a plan for how to improve in the future. Timely feedback allows for the feedback to stay useful to the students and they would not forget about how much effort they put into completing the assignment. For this learning opportunity to be relevant, professors and instructors need to grade assignments and tests as soon as possible. This encourages students to stay proactive when it comes to their learning and improvement.

Lastly, it is important to provide constructive criticism to students. Feedback needs to be descriptive, constructive, and actionable. Feedback should be specific when addressing a student's work. The strengths and weaknesses should be outlined very clearly and specifically. It is also important to note that feedback should not be overwhelming to students. Only some key notes that are of high priority should be outlined in the initial feedback. If the students want to learn more about how they can improve then the professor should provide extensive feedback. Feedback should be constructive and not should list all the negative points from their assignment. It is important to tell students what they did well and what they can improve on. If students are giving too many negative notes it can become very discouraging and it might make the students try even less in future assignments. Feedback should be actionable with specific tasks and steps students can take to improve. This allows students to understand exactly what they need to do to get a better grade in the next assignment.

Some strategies can be used to encourage open communication with students

Firstly, professors should try building trust by creating a trusting classroom environment.

Having a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment can help students share their thoughts and ideas in the lecture. Moreover, professors should become more culturally aware so they can make their lectures more inclusive for minority students. This allows students to feel more welcomed and valued in the classroom setting. Professors can do this by being very careful when the topic of culture and politics is included in the lessons. Professors should create clear expectations and a respectful environment when these topics are discussed.

Secondly, active listening can help improve communication between students and professors. It is very important to actively listen when students ask professors a question or they share their thoughts. This makes students feel valued and comfortable in a big lecture room. Professors can become better at active listening by becoming more reflective, and open-minded and watching for body language. Becoming more open-minded and reflective will allow professors to give better insights into the point of view the student is presenting which will help the students' learning. Watching body language will help professors gauge how involved the lecture room is when they are teaching. It will help them identify if the students are confused about a topic or not. This would allow them to go over the concept again with a different approach or an example to help clarify the concept.

Work Cited