While the impacts of feedback on students’ learning are well-known, it is less clear what factors influenced the ways teachers providing feedback. To help rectify this, an article published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology has examined how teachers’ perceptions of task difficulty and views of intelligence influence whether and how they give feedback.
This study was conducted among 169 English teachers from Chinese primary schools attending an English Summer school for enhancing teacher skills. Teachers were given six scenarios to read, each of which described a lesson where the teacher asked a designated student to complete a task. In three of the scenarios, the student succeeded, while in the other three scenarios, the student failed. After reading each scenario, teachers were asked to rate their perception of task difficulty, the likelihood of giving feedback, and the likelihood of giving person and process forms of feedback. Moreover, teachers completed a measure assessing their views on whether intelligence is malleable. The results showed that:
- Teachers were more likely to provide feedback following success than failure
- Following students’ failure, teachers were more likely to provide process feedback rather than person feedback.
- When the tasks were perceived to be challenging, teachers were more likely to provide feedback.
- Teachers who believed more in the view that intelligence was fixed reported that they would give more person and process praise.
The authors recommended that future research could explore in detail what feedback teachers in other cultures provide and the underlying reasons so as to enrich our understanding of the entire feedback mechanism in order to benefit students.
Source: Skipper, Y., & Douglas, K. M. (2019). Examining teachers’ ratings of feedback following success and failure: a study of Chinese English teachers. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 89 (4). 804-817.