What are some models of verbal feedback?
One of the first things an instructor must do when implementing verbal feedback is to envision it in relation to the course. Will conferences take the place of class? Will they be in lieu of class? How many conferences will you require of each student? Will conferencing be voluntary? Do you prefer group or individual conferences? Karen Uehling addressed some of those questions as well as the mechanics of conferencing, the notes from that workshop can be found here. Another consideration is how you will schedule conferences, a few options are available here. It is important to note that “Giving oral feedback to an individual need not be private, as in a private conference. While individual, formal, oral conferencing is certainly an effective method, that option simply is not viable given most teachers’ class loads, students’ schedules, and the constraints of the school day” (Monroe 104). Verbal feedback need not be limited to just conferences, it can be implemented in regular class lessons as well as workshop days.
Meetings can be any length but Murray argues that “short conferences are more effective than long conferences” (164). Madigan reaffirms this by stating that conferences over ten minutes are too long
(75). These conferences can take two forms: modeling for the student or allowing the student to lead the discussion. Murray and Madigan advocate the latter, while Luban leans towards a more active role by leading the student in directions for further thought and Thomas and Thomas have a model somewhere in between the two.
The following models can be implemented in both group and individual conferences.
Luban et al suggest the following structure for guiding a conference:
- Develop a comfortable working rapport with the student.
- Determine whether or not the student understands the assignment.
→Ask basic questions, such as “Who is your audience?” and “Why are you writing to this
- Determine whether the student has developed an approach for completing the assignment.
→Help the student to explore the various ways that he or she might locate and organize
information or experiences necessary to completing the first draft.
- If the student has a draft already, have him or her read the draft aloud to you.
→In re-reading the draft aloud to an immediate audience, the student often sees the piece
anew and is able to correct jumbled sentences, non-standard features, missing words, and
even recognize larger problems of organization.
- Help the student revise the draft.
→The tutor, primarily through skillful questioning and by
responding as an attentive listener, helps the writer to recognize and solve problems in the
draft such as organizing, adding detail, clarifying, sentence-combining or simplifying, and
- Help the student to proofread the draft.
→The final step involves careful polishing activity, during which the tutor and student look
for mechanical errors and prepare the piece to be read by others”(32).
Beach in contrast gives his students a form to look at their writing before conferencing. He collects both of this and the paper before he conferences. This form allows students to begin thinking about their paper in a critical light and gives the instructor an idea of where the student needs guidance.
Finally Murray and Madigan apply a very different method. Each lets their student begin by talking about what they think the strengths and weaknesses in their paper are and why. The student then talks though the problem and the instructor responds with “a lot of nodding and chuckling, grunting and gasping” (Madigan 75). This model allows the student to look at their own work critically and gain tools that they can use in future classes.
Feedback and Basic Writing: Annotated Bibliography