Giving Feedback and Feedforward

Student leaders can raise the bar for everyone in the group through teaching their peers and giving constructive feedback and feedforward. Feedback focuses on what was just demonstrated and points out what went well and what needs to be improved. Feedforward focuses on solutions and moving toward a goal rather than focusing on what is wrong. Both feedback and feedforward are important skills for teaching and leading. I recommend hosting mock teaching and feedback/feedforward sessions so students can practice with your guidance prior to leading independently. 

Peer Teaching Strategies

1. The upbeat to teaching is the preparation and mindset of the teacher. Be sure to plan and envision what and how you want to teach and what the outcome will be for those you teach.

2. Demonstrate the entire skill or musical phrase.

3. Break the task down into smaller steps, chunks, or skills.

4. Do the skill with your peer(s).

5. Give specific, constructive feedback and feedforward.

6. Repeat or move on to the next step.

7. Show appreciation and give praise.

Additionally, to check for understanding and to empower the learners, ask them to demonstrate and become the teacher. Essentially, switch roles.

Peer Feedback and Feedforward Strategies

1. The upbeat to giving feedback and feedforward is to listen and watch carefully so you notice what went well and what can be improved. Aim to formulate comments that are the most helpful, constructive, and likely to create forward momentum.

2. Be respectful and encouraging.

3. Be specific. Rather than only saying “good job,” share details about what went well. Likewise, specifically diagnose what needs to change or be improved and how to make that happen.

4. Focus on providing solutions rather than only identifying problems. Of course, students still need to know what went wrong to understand what to change or modify.

5. Ask for input, feedback, and feedforward from those you are teaching and to discover whether their methods of teaching are helpful or should be adjusted. Ask questions to ensure everyone is understanding what you are communicating.

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