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Guidance That Sticks: How to Give Students Feedback They’ll Actually Use

goal-setting 101

As students learn and grow, they should always know how they’re doing. Feedback helps students to gauge their progress, figure out where they can improve, and ultimately achieve their goals.

Yet, sometimes, giving feedback can be challenging. Every student has a different learning style, personality, and learning abilities, and some are more open to receiving constructive criticism than others. Here’s how adults on campus can give students guidance to help them achieve academic success and enhance their overall learning experience.

Be Specific

Specificity goes a long way for students. More general comments, such as “needs improvement” or “try harder,” don’t provide enough context for the student to understand what to work on. Definitive examples of where they can improve give them a good place to start. Plus, with specific notes, they are less likely to feel overwhelmed or unsure of what’s to come.

Make and Keep Connections

We’re all about connecting with our students, building strong relationships with them along the way. We want our students to feel seen, and we encourage our coaches to make conversation with each of them. When students feel like they are more familiar with the adults on campus, they are more likely to take their advice to heart.

Foster a Positive Learning Environment

It’s all about a classroom or program culture. When developing the experience your students will have, help them understand that feedback is valuable. It’s not a sign of failure or incompetence. Once students see how to give, receive, and use feedback appropriately, they will be more open to it.

Embrace the Power of Praise and Encouragement

This idea goes hand-in-hand with establishing a learning environment. Many students appreciate being recognized for their talents and contributions, so weaving feedback into moments of encouragement can be a great way to help them see its value. Instead of solely outlining all of the ways a student can improve, share some of the things they’ve done well. Never underestimate how far a little kudos can go!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to students’ academic success and personal growth, effective feedback is crucial. This guidance should motivate students, empowering them to achieve their goals. Implementing these strategies allows educators to create a positive learning environment that supports students’ progress and development, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling educational experience.


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