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What Are Some of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Verbal Feedback

What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of verbal feedback?

As with any method of feedback verbal feedback has its strengths and weaknesses. It is important to note that verbal feedback can be implemented at any point of the writing process and it does not need to replace written feedback. In many cases verbal and written feedback build upon one another and give a clearer picture of a instructors response. This is especially important with basic writers where Butler postulates “that to the remedial student, any traditional comments mean so little as to render my having bothered to make them a farce” (270).


Time Management:

  • Reduces redundancy, having to explain written comments verbally (Monroe 101).
  • Employs the entire writing process in the course of a few minutes (Madigan 75).
  • Can be implemented at any time of the writing process and in any setting (Monroe 104).
  • Combats writers block by talking through and making a plan. (Harris 79).
  • Build a relationship with the student, let them be seen as a person not a name in a roll book (Murray 155).

Expedience of Ideas:

  • Forces instructor to articulate what “awk” means and finds specific feedback (Thomas 123).
  • The ability to explain how the paper comes across to a reader, to explain your reaction (Butler 271).
  • The ability to address one or two techniques in depth during a session (Beach 145).
  • Demonstrating stages of assessment and revision in a one-to-one setting (Beach 129).
  • The ability to work on areas the students’ sees as weaknesses (Beach 133).
  • “Better communication between faculty and students” (Thomas 114).

Student Participation:

  • The student can see first hand the reaction of a reader to his work (Beach 142).
  • Allows the instructor to see the students thought processes (Sweeney 215).
  • Puts primary responsibility for improvement on the writer (Madigan 77).
  • Need for more participation by the writer (Thomas 114).
  • Can increase student reflection (Thomas 120).
  • Ability to see students relationship to the topic (Murray 163).


Time Management:

  • The ability to only address one or two techniques in a session (Beach 145).
  • Too many students to find time to meet with them all outside of class due to schedules (Harris 4).
  • Infrequent conferences are not as effective (Murray 164).
  • Addressing too many concerns in one session ( Murray 164).
  • Not having an immediate response (Murray 164).

Expedience of Ideas:

  • Students only get feedback from the instructor (Harris 4).
  • Danger of imposing ideas “in effect do the thinking for the student” (Thomas 115).
  • Not for instructors who “doubt students’ ability to evaluate themselves or who feel uncomfortable in one-to-one situations or with listening more than talking” (Madigan 76).

Student Participation:

  • The conference would not be a effective with some students, “quiet ones” as with others (Harris 4).
  • Keeping students on track with activities while meeting in class (Harris 4).
  • No guarantee that students will magically become better writers (Harris 105).
  • If voluntary students might not attend thus losing valuable insight into their writing (Madigan 74).
  • Puts primary responsibility for improvement on the writer (Madigan 77).
  • Can repress student response (Thomas 120).

Feedback and Basic Writing: Annotated Bibliography

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Page last modified on December 18, 2012, at 05:29 PM