Constructive Feedback

Do you sometimes cringe at what students say to each other when they are working together? Honestly, they don’t mean to hurt each other’s feelings or say mean things to each other. Many times, they just do not know how to give constructive feedback. While they know what they want to say, they need to practice a more appropriate way to word their thoughts. Thankfully, the strategies below will help students give constructive feedback to their classmates! 

giving constructive feedback

Importance of Peer-to-Peer Constructive Feedback 

People work with each other on different tasks throughout life. While in school, this may be on projects, activities, and extracurriculars. Then, it progresses to various aspects based upon the profession. Whether agreeing on a design concept or lesson idea, adults work together all the time to gain different perspectives. Thus, constructive feedback is a vital part of developing respectful partnerships. This means learning to give and receive constructive feedback at a young age is essential! While practicing in the classroom, students have the support of their class and teacher. Luckily, this means they will improve on giving constructive feedback as they continue to work with each other. 

Constructive Feedback Techniques 

Thankfully, there are multiple ways for students to practice giving constructive feedback. This means they will learn different techniques to apply in various situations! In many ways, providing constructive feedback is the same as learning new content. Students need practice and patience as they formulate what they want to say and how they should say it. 

Start with Something Positive

One of the best ways to begin giving constructive feedback involves starting with something positive. Thus, explain to students how they can start by saying something they liked or that stands out to them. Honestly, a great way to open up a conversation is with positivity. 

Show that You Listened

For someone to value another opinion, they want to know the person listened. Hence, remind students to provide specific details and aspects when giving feedback. Their comments should show they truly listened to the other person speaking and sharing. 

Ask Questions

Disagreements often occur because people are afraid to ask questions. This usually happens when giving constructive feedback. Therefore, it will be essential to let students know asking questions is a great way to build dialogue when discussing ideas. 

Check for Clarification

When sharing, it is common to forget something important or to explain with enough detail due to nerves. Hence, an excellent technique when giving constructive feedback involves asking for clarification. It may be over the topic in general or a specific aspect. Either way, checking for clarification will be an incredible way to ensure there is no confusion. It often allows the person sharing to further expand on thoughts they forgot to say. 

Disagree Politely While Giving Constructive Feedback

Students will not always agree with either other. That’s okay! However, they do need to practice disagreeing in polite ways. If they don’t, feelings will end up hurt. 

Explain Your Thinking

This strategy is vital for giving constructive feedback and receiving it. A good partnership involves conversation. Thus, students can use sentence starters to help explain their thoughts. Honestly, this strategy is a great way to get students talking!

Giving Constructive Feedback While Making Suggestions

A crucial part of giving constructive feedback involves making suggestions for improvement. Hence, students can help each other make their work even stronger! Honestly, students can provide great insight into other viewpoints or outlooks on the topic. While the person may not use the suggestions, the conversation allows them to hear other perspectives or thoughts. Something as simple as a different color scheme can greatly improve how something looks. 

End with Something Positive

No one likes to leave a meeting feeling hurt or upset. Thus, it is imperative to end the conversation on a positive note. Therefore, remind students to share something they enjoyed about the piece they are evaluating when giving constructive feedback. 

Constructive Feedback Posters

Students often need practice and assistance when understanding how to give constructive feedback. Thankfully, all of the strategies above have helpful posters! This resource has one poster per strategy with sentence starters and tips for students. Luckily, this means they can reference the posters when giving constructive feedback! 

classroom posters

Students must learn to work with others successfully. Honestly, this skill is hard to learn but vital to so many aspects of life. Thankfully, giving constructive feedback is an incredible way to help students communicate with others while being honest with their thoughts. 

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I am Kirsten Tulsian, an elementary educator with 18 years of experience as a teacher and counselor. My passion lies in empowering students to discover their inherent brilliance through the use of engaging, rigorous, and meaningful activities. I look forward to connecting with you!

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