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Feedback in learning Essay

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1.0What is feedback?:“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great inspires” William Arthur Ward A teacher carries a big responsibility in area of learning. Some people believe a teacher’s job is to teach and a student’s job is to learn. In today’s classroom, the role of teacher is totally different. Teacher as a facilitator of learning, mentor for learner and classroom supporter. The excellent teacher will take various actions in way to help their students to be successful in their life.

So that, one of the action is teacher should provide assessment feedback in way to enhance the learning. Feedback is normally something which happens as a result of cycle teaching and learning action. It can give either before, during or after the learning had been occurs. Generally, what is feedback? Is it guidance, evaluation or praise? As mentioned by Ramaprasad (1983), feedback is information about the gap between the actual level and the reference level of a system parameter which is used to alter the gap in some way.

Furthermore, the definition by Ramaprasad also supported of new research by Shute (2007) that define the feedback as represent information communicated to the learner that is intended to modify the learner’s thinking or behaviour for the purpose of improving learning. Hence, in learning, feedback should usually presented as information to a student in response to some action on the current level of performance and help them to be better. Correspondingly the educationist agree that assessment feedback is an important part of learning cycle but nowadays students frequently express disappointment and frustration in relation to the conduct of the feedback process. Students may complain that feedback on assessment is unhelpful or unclear and not provide any tips to them to improve their current performance.

As a result, students will always repeat the mistake until they get to know the correct answers. Studies of the impact on student learning achievement indicate that feedback has the potential to have a significant effect on student learning achievement (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Feedback should give immediately during the learning process. That can really help student to do self-reflection on their quality of learning. They can figure out did he/she in the right track and how to improve their understanding.

Types of feedback:

Main focus of given assessment feedback is to describes qualities of work in relation to the learning target. Teacher should give attention to the quality of their written feedback. There are two types of feedback, evaluative feedback and descriptive feedback. Evaluative feedback refers to a summary of student current achievement or performed on the particular task. This feedback is often come out with letter of grades, numbers, check marks, symbols and generals comment such as “good”, “excellent” and “need help”. While, descriptive feedback is specific or detail information in the form of written comments or conversations that help the student understand what he/she needs to do in improve their level of understanding. There are several examples of evaluative and descriptive feedback:

Evaluative Feedback Descriptive Feedback

“Try harder next time” “Your topic discussion is clear and have good examples, your next step might be to check back your grammatical errors” “90%! A+! Excellent Work! Keep it up!” “You’re made some simple mistakes in your calculation, remember back the formula use. Please check back the first step until the last step in your calculation for question 10.”

Table 1: Examples of Evaluative and Descriptive Feedback

Based on examples given, evaluative feedback more to provide a judgement on the quality of the learning task that student did while descriptive feedback focus on helps the student understand what he or she needs to do to improve their current achievement. Besides that, evaluative feedback shown to us those teachers only tells learner or students how they compare to others and descriptive feedback will provide specific information in the form of written comments or conversations more help learner. Regardless of the types of feedback given, either evaluative or descriptive, effective feedback needs to be informative, prompt and guiding. Informative feedback highlights strengths and weaknesses, giving specific examples or explanations. Prompt feedback is returned to students within an agreed timescale for the work submitted. Guiding feedback offer suggestions about how students can improve their learning. All of that combining together to help students to do better the next time.

This statement also have support by Hattie and Timperley (2007), they mention that the most improvement in student learning takes place when students got information feedback about the task and how to do more effectively. Below are examples of evaluative and descriptive feedback given by teachersFeedback as teaching style of scaffolding: As we already know, feedback provides information and guide to students by teachers about learning. That is one criteria of scaffolding. Scaffolding is the core of traditional apprenticeship. It is refers to given support that provides by expert or teacher as steps to improve their learning. It helps to reduce the gap between the student current level of understanding or performance and a desired goal. According to Hattle and Timperley (2007), they mention that depending on the nature and delivery of the feedback, it can have powerful positive effects on student learning and engagement. Beside that in the research by Assessment Reform Group (2002), also mention that feedback as coaching and scaffolding students. The given feedback is an essential practice of assessment for learning.

The process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learner and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there by helping of teachers. That the main reason why the teacher’s feedback important, providing the support necessary for student to proceed towards the next stage or level and achieving the learning goal. Student will view the feedback as improving tips in which students receive information and construct meaning to close the gap. The students need to do something based on the guided giving in the feedback. Scaffolding instructional originated from Vygotsky’s ideas on learning. Vygotsky’s comes out with two levels of learning development. The first level is Actual Development that what learner has already reached.

It is the level which the learner is capable of solving problems independently. The second level is called Potential Development which the learner not capable of doing the moment but have potential to do so. Between the actual and potential levels, Vygotsky said that there was what was called a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Proximal means next. In context of feedback, it should act as scaffold by providing tips and support necessary for student to proceed the next stage or level. Without the support students may be unable to accomplish the target. As the result, students will extend their understanding and make improvement.

Figure 3: ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) Diagram

When teacher incorporate scaffolding in feedback, they become more to mentor and facilitator of knowledge rather than the dominant content expert. This teaching style that include with scaffolding will make student active role in class to achieving learning goal. Besides that, it also provides a welcoming and caring learning environment. “I take care of you and I hope you will be success in future”. Expiration in feedback on student assessment will make them realize that even they did wrong is not means he/she is stupid student. They have room to improve. As conclusion, the best assessment feedback, scaffold student to achieve the higher performance in learning target.

Feedback as affective domain in learning:

Since 1950’s, research have been done in cognitive theory and educationist had use the Bloom’s (1956) taxonomies of learning. Bloom has mentioned that in learning should have three learning domains. The cognitive domain, affective domain and psychomotor domain. Feedback is referring to affective domain. In affective domain includes feeling, emotion, attitudes, values and motivation. As students that receiving the feedback, they need all of the aspect that include in affective domain. Teacher should play with all of these aspects. Teacher must provide clear understanding. Feedback should be brief, concise statements, in student-friendly language that describe what students are to know and be able to do at the end of feedback. Feedback can be one of the ways to encourage positive motivational belief and self-esteem. There are some ideas for motivating students. Teachers can start the feedback with praises like good job, excellent job, great, brilliant idea, “You are starting to understand this but…”, “This is quality work because…”, “Two things you really did well are…” and many more on what they do well. Praise the work or process that focus in achieving the learning goal.

Second step, teachers proceed with intervention that tells the student what needs improving and give enough information in way to help them to do better. It can sound like “Your thinking shows….”, “One thing to improve on…..”, “You need more……”, and many more. Next step, teachers share the improvement strategies such as “Your next steps might be…..”, and “You might try…”. The ways that teachers give the feedback have relationship with the flow of affective domain as described by Krathwohl et.al (1964). They start with receiving, responding, valuing, organizing and ended with acting. Students will receiving the feedback as their new information of mark, wrong answers and the current level that he/she mastering the knowledge. Am I really understood or I just understand little bit? Step 2, responding. Students will respond on feedback given by teacher. They being actively participating based on feedback given to achieve learning goal.

Step 3, valuing. They attaching worth to feedback given and try to do correction on the task. After they do the correction, they will organize the new concept and change their existing understanding. The last is characterization. They have the correct understanding and will apply the concept in correct way without misconception. It is the effective way that feedback can help students learn better in positive environment in implement the affective domain. Feedback will demonstrate appropriate ways of enhancing the performance on the task and offer strategies that invite more learner responsibility to improve. “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire” William Butler Yeats Feedback as reflection on learning process:

Reflection needed students to capture back on their performance in the task given. It also needs students to have clear comparison about their previous performance and current performance. There are three types of reflection that suite with the feedback: reflection on your process, comparison of your performance to that of others and comparison of your performance to a set of criteria for evaluating performance (Schon, 1983). How feedback can be as reflection on learning process? Firstly, reflect on the feedback process. By feedback, students are encourages to look back at how they react and given answer on the task. Teachers will describes the qualities of work in relation to the learning targets. That can make them see how they might have done better and what they need to improve. That is the first step as feedback starter, reflect on achievement. Second, compare of student performance with others. These types of reflection are referring to evaluative feedback. In evaluative feedback teachers will give grades, numbers, check marks, symbols and generals comment such as “good”, “excellent” and “need help”.

Based on the feedback, students analyze by comparing their performance with friends in hope he/she will motivate to achieve better. The final types of reflection are comparison of student performance to a set of criteria for evaluating performances. These are focus on intervention and improvement that include in feedback. Teachers will share idea on what students needs to improve and gives enough information so the students will knows what the next step to apply. That really show the function of feedback as reflection, facilitates the development of self-assessment in learning.Conclusion: Assessment feedback should play as important role in teaching and learning.

Firstly, feedback is a way that teacher can use to determine and analyse how far your student gain the knowledge and what should you suggest to them in helping them success in mastery the knowledge. Secondly, assessment feedback will attract low achievement students to be active learner and more motivated to achieve the learning goal. Overall, assessment feedback should take as important aspect in learning process. Teacher need to apply and change the feedback given in way to help student to be success in future.

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