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Pedagogical Development Office

Teaching Tip: On the Road to Success

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The midterm is almost here and now is a good time to stop and take stock of where you’ve been, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there, for both you and your students. This is a great time to make sure that you’re giving your students some formative feedback. It’s also a good time to get some formative feedback from your students.

Where Have We Been?

We often think of the end of the semester as a good time to start reviews for final exams and assignments. However, it is also good to stop and take some time to review before the midterm, to make sure that students have understood everything you’ve looked at so far. Much of what you cover later in the course will depend on the knowledge and skills that your students acquire in the first half of the semester. Taking the time to make sure that students have mastered these before moving on to the next steps can help with their success as you continue.

Where Are We Going?

One good technique in giving feedback to students is to stop and look at where you are going, so that you can make sure the path you are taking is leading in the right direction. Try to look at your course and decide which skills students need first before they can develop and expand on those skills through a scaffolding approach. By looking back at what you’ve already covered in class, try to decide what skills students should have mastered by this point and then look at where you want them to be by the end of the course. Then check in with your students, through either assignments or Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs), and assess which students may need a little extra help to get caught up to where they should be at this point in the course, and how you might help them get there.

How Will We Get There?

Once you’ve figured out where you and your students need to get to, you can start planning how to get there. This is the part where formative feedback is the most helpful. When giving students feedback, on their assignments or even in class, try to make sure that your feedback specifically details where they are in relation to where you want them to be, in terms of the learning goals. Help your students keep their eye on the prize by showing them what they have done right and what they have done wrong and giving them suggestions on what they need to do to improve so they can achieve the learning outcomes. Keep in mind that you want students to develop their skills throughout the course, so help them take it one step at a time by identifying what skills they have already mastered and what they need to do next to move towards mastering all of the courses learning outcomes.

For more information regarding feedback, please contact us at the PDO!