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Giving Constructive Feedback

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

These materials are designed to help you to prepare for a lesson on: Giving Constructive Feedback.

Giving constructive feedback is an essential skill that, if done well, can be an essential way of making improvements in the workplace from projects you are working on to the your interpersonal relationships with colleagues. As with anything in Business English, there is a need to be culturally aware of the way in which we approach giving feedback constructively.


Instructions:

  • Firstly, look at the preparation tasks that I have chosen to help you to develop this skill.

  • Then, look at the materials provided to help with your preparation tasks and in terms of your general understanding of this particular skill.

  • Lastly, complete the tasks prior to the lesson*. (Starting by having the student complete a preparation tasks gives me an understanding of the learners ability with this task to effectively ensure and build on their understanding of appropriate language and vocabulary, good use of grammar and clear communicational skills to communicate clearly, confidently and professionally in English).

*If it's not possible to complete the tasks outside of the lesson, then we can do this as part of a lesson. I prefer to give student the option of doing as much work in their own time as possible to be more cost efficient and to maximise learning.


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The Preparation Tasks

Your task has arrived via email below;


1) Feedback on a badly constructed PowerPoint slide:

2) Feedback on a design idea;

3) Or this inappropriate email;


________________________

Materials and Resources


Giving feedback is something that I need to do constantly with students. Generally, the first example of this is whenever I meet a student for the first time and we are getting to know the students abilities in English and what it is that they would need to work on. I generally approach my feedback in this situation using the same structure: I start of by identifying what is good, focussing on what the student can do well. I then identify which parts need work, but within language that is intended to be proactive and goal orientated. So, I might say;


"What really strikes me is that your level of English is actually already really good, and one of the things that you are very good at is speaking naturally. I can hear when you are talking that you make a number of relatively minor grammatical errors that, if worked on, would really help to bring your overall level of English up relatively easily...for example you said...".


Basically, keep it proactive and focussed on making improvements towards common goals...


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Lets start with a short video giving some interesting perspectives to the most effective ways of giving feedback. Think about the two 'camps' they describe with giving feedback, how do we stay between the two 'camps'? What is the four part formula for giving good feedback?

When approaching giving feedback about something, try using some of the following language


Setting the scene for the feedback:

  • "I had a suggestion I wanted to make..."

  • "I had a couple of ideas I wanted to share with you..."

  • "I just wanted to catch up quickly about... "

  • "I just wanted to speak to you about... "

Identifying the good:

  • "What's really good, is...."

  • "What you've done really well is..."

  • "One of the things that was done really well is... "

  • "I like how... "

  • "A clear strength is..."

Transitioning to the things that need improving:

  • "There are just a couple of things that are holding this back from being really good, such as... "

  • "To improve it I would suggest... "

  • "What about if"

  • "Maybe you could"

  • "I thought it might be a good idea to"

  • "One thing we might want to consider is"

  • "You may/might want to consider"

  • "It might be a good idea to"

  • "Have you thought about…?"

  • "What would really improve _______ is..."


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Finished


Having looked at the materials and completed the preparation tasks, you are ready for the lesson. Send anything you have prepared to me if you would like me to look at it before the lesson - joel.white.english@gmail.com

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