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PTLLS Adult Learning: How To Give Constructive Feedback

Updated on January 22, 2015

When it comes to evaluate and give feedback to the learners, the teacher has a very big responsibility. The big risk at this point is to discourage shy students with negative feedback and this could be very dangerous because they could lose confidence in their abilities and decide not to finish the course or even lose interest in the subject.

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Negative but Constructive Feedback

When it comes to negative feedback a teacher should keep in mind the importance of always suggesting a way to improve. A negative feedback itself doesn’t give the learner the tools to overcome their difficulties, but some feedback that can identify exactly where and how to improve which could push the learner to do better. Feedback should also be private between the teacher and the learner. It doesn’t help when a shy learner receives negative feedback in front of the classroom and at the same time, to publicly give good feedback to one of the learners could discourage everybody else. A very important rule when it comes to feedback is also honesty: the learners have to develop confidence in their teacher during the course so they can accept the positive and negative feedback when it comes to evaluation. That means that the learners have to know that at the evaluation stage the teacher is going to be honest with them and at the same time will help them to improve.

Evaluation in Lifelong Learning Sector

Feedback in Life Long Learning Sector

Another important rule is to always evaluate the learner’s work but never the learner as a person. This may seem very obvious but sometimes the learners can feel judged when it comes to receiving feedback, so it’s always important that the teacher only talks about what to improve in their work or learning process and never discourage their abilities. When it comes to the lifelong learning sector, this process can be a bit more painful because a teacher has to remember that they are evaluating adults with different backgrounds and life experiences and also that adults could take negative feedback more discouragingly compared to younger people. Some of these adult learners could already have had bad experiences at school or college and maybe for them it’s already hard to be evaluated as adults. That’s why the teacher should keep in mind what they have learned during the learners’ needs assessment and maybe try to personalise the feedback style in order to have the best results from the learners. The evaluation process is also crucial for the teacher to evaluate their work. Looking at the learner progress and their achievement it’s a great way for a teacher to self assess their abilities and identify their strong points and their weaknesses in order to improve their future work.

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