We need to flip the focus from the past to the future.                                                    If we can evidence that students have made                                                      progress over time – then surely we can trust that                                            feedback along the way has been effective.

Backward-looking feedback doesn’t often get good                                             results for three reasons:

1.  It shuts down our mental dashboards. 

Negative feedback can be stressful, make us                                                        defensive or lose confidence.​ 

2.  It focuses primarily on ratings, not on                                                      development.  Most of feedback’s time and                                                              energy is spent on looking back and rating (or grading) performance that’s already over, rather than focusing on what can be done from now on.

3.  It reinforces negative behaviours. 

“When we hear about flaws that we can’t fix anymore—because they’re in a past that we can’t change—it creates a feeling of learned helplessness, the feeling that we are unable to do anything about our future. Instead of committing ourselves to improvement, we hold onto a debilitating view of what we can’t do.

Focus instead on FEEDFORWARD:


When we give feedforward, instead of rating and judging a person’s performance in the past, we focus on their development in the future.

Further reading:

Joe Hirsch’s Book ‘The Feedback Fix’


Listen to the podcast:


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