Using Feedback to Enhance P.E. Student Skill Development

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  • 0:04 Elements of Quality Feedback
  • 0:43 Descriptive Feedback
  • 1:11 Prescriptive Feedback
  • 1:31 Environmental Feedback
  • 2:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we examine the use of descriptive and prescriptive feedback to improve student development of skills in the physical education classroom.

Elements of Quality Feedback

How do your students know when they're correctly executing a new skill? Sometimes the student learns to make adjustments because of the outcome, but other times, students need feedback. Providing appropriate feedback is one of the teacher behaviors that's been identified as most effective for improving student learning in the physical education classroom.

Quality feedback is immediate, focused on one or two changes that can make an impact, and phrased positively. Teachers should avoid comparing students to each other but should focus on helping students master a skill. Let's discuss descriptive, prescriptive, and environmental feedback, as well as ways to help students evaluate themselves and learn from each other.

Descriptive Feedback

When the teacher says, ''Nice work,'' that's an example of descriptive feedback. Descriptive feedback is general feedback that reinforces student behavior but is not specific enough to provide students with skill development. Praise, such as ''great job'' or ''keep it up,'' would fall into this category. This type of feedback is often used to encourage participation or effort but is not effective to change performance. To make improvements, students need to be told specifically what to do differently.

Prescriptive Feedback

Prescriptive feedback provides specific information to improve student performance. Statements, such as ''loosen your grip'' or ''bend your knees,'' help students understand what they need to change to get better results. Like a doctor prescribes treatment to his or her patients, physical education teachers provide prescriptive feedback to correct skills.

Environmental Feedback

Feedback doesn't always have to come from the teacher. Some activities, like hitting the ball out of the park or bowling a strike provide environmental feedback, which is provided to students because of the exterior results. In cases like these, students are less likely to need verbal feedback.

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