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Concourse 2

Managing feedback on / from tasks: an essential guide


Feedback is Information

The key is to decide

On an initial training course, you'll probably learn a lot about making classrooms centred on the learners rather than the teacher.  That is considered A Good Thing (and it probably is).
One way to make classrooms more centred on the students is to use lots of collaborative work so that the learners work together without your persistent presence and then feedback the outcomes somehow.
Therein lies the rub – how do you give and get feedback without the lesson becoming teacher centred?


A two-way street

Here we shall be considering two sorts of feedback:

This is, of course, a mutual process (or should be).


Identifying task types

Here's a set of tasks you might do with students working together.  Can you divide them into two sorts?

1 You start a lesson on 'going to' by asking people to work in threes to come up with three things they would like to do this evening / this week etc.  They make the plans and will later express them using the target structure. 4 You give the class three pictures that go with a text and ask them in pairs to speculate about what the text concerns and what vocabulary it might contain.
2 You have a text which contains five facts expressed in numbers.  To practise scanning, you get the class to work individually to locate the numbers and make a brief note of what they refer to. 5 You have a reading text with some multiple-choice questions to go with it.  You get the class to work in pairs to find the answers.
3 To introduce a listening text, you put up a picture of two people sitting in a café ordering from a waiter and ask the class individually to make a note of where they are and what they are doing. 6 For controlled practice in a lesson, you have handed out a gapped text to get the students to complete in pairs.  The gaps concern the target language of the lesson, of course.

Click here for the answer when you have had some thoughts.

Now look through the 6 tasks and ask yourself two simple questions:

Click here when you have some ideas to see if the suggestions which follow match your thoughts.




Ask yourself the question

When you are getting feedback on a task, ask yourself a simple question:

Why am I doing this?

Related guides
feedback to learners for the guide in the in-service training area
task types to see how the type of task may affect what you are doing
activity types for a guide to the three essential forms of activities and what they do

Click to do two easy tests to remind yourself of the key points.