Feedback: The Hinge That Joins Teaching and Learning

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The hinge-factor to improving student learning is right before our eyes in the classroom, and yet big budget reforms continue to look outside of the classroom. The hinge-factor is ofeedback.oe The new cognitive feedback definition improves upon the old behaviorism one, offering new techniques and new strategies for teachers to use in classrooms. All teachers employ what they perceive to be feedback strategies, but most need to revisit the what, why, and how about feedback and the latest buzzword u formative assessment. Feedback is information communicated about an action, event, or process that relates back to the original source or goal. In the classroom, timely feedback can be any information that a learner receives as a consequence of performance that can be used to make improvements. Research and practice show that what is critical about feedback is: Not who gives it but who receives it. That it needs to be timely. Teachers need to learn basic techniques to efficiently turn curriculum statements into just-right learning targets so students can learn efficient progress monitoring with the help of the teacher. Students are adept at self-reporting and can learn strategies to track their own performances when instruction is deliberate. Learning to use a new definition of feedback, the hinge factor, teachers will find gains in classrooms without making other structural changes that are costly and political. Administrators can learn techniques to support teachers using the research during supervision.