Residents As Teachers - Common Teaching Mistakes - Miatake 2: Give No Feedback to Students


Mistake 2: Give No Feedback to Students


Feedback is critical to helping students learn.

The following are important elements of effective feedback:

Feedback should be timely - while certain circumstances may not allow immediate feedback, especially when patients are involved, feedback is best provided while events are "fresh" in people's minds.

Feedback should be based on first-hand information - what have YOU actually witnessed in/from students? At times, you might also collect information from others for feedback, but it is important to verify the information first.

Feedback should focus on behaviors that can be changed.

Feedback should be specific. "You did a good job" does not help students understand what they are doing well, nor does it identify behaviors needing correction.

Feedback should be based on students' decisions and actions, not upon assumptions or presumed motives. For example, instead of indicating that students "lack motivation," indicate what behaviors they exhibited that were less than ideal, e.g. did not provide timely follow up on "x" tasks.

There are various approaches to providing feedback. The following link will take you to a more extensive discussion of feedback. However, one approach that is easy to remember is the "feedback sandwich." Begin by identifying something students did well, followed by an area where they can improve, followed by another positive comment.

Another approach is to first ask students for a self-assessment. Based on the their response, you can identify additional positive and/or constructive comments.