Providing Oral Feedback in Language Instruction

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

The ability to give effective feedback to students is a valuable skill. This lesson provides teachers with advice on how to give constructive and relevant oral feedback to students in a language instruction environment.

The Basics of Oral Feedback

Oral feedback, when used as part of overall language instruction, can be an important tool in any teacher's arsenal. When giving feedback, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.

  • Feedback should be given at an appropriate time and should serve to encourage the student, never to embarrass or degrade. Giving feedback in a group setting can help make sure it's received positively.
  • Be sure that you are giving the student your undivided attention during the verbal exchange.
  • Try to bookend any negative feedback with positives. For example, if you point out a grammatical error that a student consistently makes, compliment them on something they consistently did well.
  • Allow time for the student to ask questions about or comment on the feedback you provided them with.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, give students specific instructions on how to move forward. Giving feedback is great, but if the student does know what to do with the information, the feedback becomes less impactful and may be easily forgotten.

If possible, try to set aside a few minutes to speak with each student individually. Students generally appreciate individual attention and may be more receptive to criticism from you if it's given privately. This is particularly true in an ESL (English as a Second Language) environment.

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