Formative feedback

Formative feedback on teaching and learning practices goes hand in hand with classroom research and OPD activities, systematically incorporated into teaching practices. Formative feedback refers to developmental and practical “activities initiated by the individual teacher to collect information” (Smith, 2001) and data from learners and peers with a view to making informed decisions – and if need be – changes in instruction and/or learning opportunities. To help realize these aims, it is important that formative feedback is carried out regularly and in a timely fashion over the progression of a course e.g. every 2-3 weeks, every month etc.

The processes and tools used to gather formative feedback are also similar to those used for classroom research purposes and OPD activities. Self-reflection, student feedback, feedback from peers and engaging in and applying ideas suggested by research can all act as valuable sources for formative feedback.

A useful model for formative feedback is the CARRA model (Curiosity-Ask-Receive-Reflect-Act) which can be found in a recent guide on formative feedback (2016) developed by the University of Calgary, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning: FormativeFeedbackGuideTaylorInstitute2016.

Formative feedback on teaching and learning practices is practical and doable; a formative feedback task or activity can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes of classroom time but for a valuable, informative purpose. The following documents contain useful examples of a variety of tools which can be used for formative feedback purposes:

Instructors who would like to use an online survey tool as part of their formative feedback tools are welcome to use the institutional SL account for ‘surveymonkey’. The question types available on ‘surveymonkey’ can be viewed here: SurveyMonkeyQuestionTypes. Alternatively you can create your basic own account free of charge or use alternative free online tools such as Google forms/survey.

For further practical tools and examples, please also refer to the following chapter of our book, A Practical Guide to English Language Teacher Development in an Academic Context: Approaches, Explorations and Practices (2017) Bosson, A. and Kurtoğlu Eken, D. (Eds.) Blackswan Publishing House:

Learning from Learners by Pınar Gündüz (Story 10)

and the following chapters in A Practical Guide to English Language Learner Development in an Academic Context: Practices and Processes (2015) Alayafi, E.G. and Demirdirek, N. (Eds.) Blackswan Publishing House:

Learner-based Research by Deniz Kurtoğlu Eken (Chapter 9)

Learning from Feedback by Esra Gün Alayafi and Pınar Gündüz (Chapter 10)

Assessing Learning by Esra Gün Alayafi and Neslihan Demirdirek (Chapter 11)

Copyright by Sabancı University School of Languages


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