Feedback on feedback

By Bill Guariento

Last week the IUG students completed the constructive feedback task.  It was great to get such a good response from the participants, and I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone (Maha in particular).

But it wasn’t just the quantity that surprised me – the quality of the comments was really impressive. There was a real variation in how people interpreted the task – some saw themselves as providing language feedback, another was frustrated by the non-subject-specific content, another made the very valid point that there is no guarantee that ANY responses can be long-lasting, if Gaza is once again subject to bombardment. All of the responses were valid, though we will need to make the explanation more explicit next time, in order to ensure the type of feedback that our UoG students require. But I think that the task was useful anyway, as the UoG students may well have provided initial drafts at the weekend with unfeasible ideas, poor English, or a very approximate grasp of the reality of conditions that people in Gaza have to face. One response was EXACTLY what we were hoping for, with just the right tone, just the right level of detail….as I told Dr Nazmi, better than I could have written myself!

What has this stage of the project taught me? That there is a lot of talent at IUG, not just in administrative terms (the organisation of the project to date has already made this abundantly clear) but also among the student-body. If the feedback on the UoG students’ work is of high quality, perhaps we can look to increasing the IUG role next year, finding some way for the IUG students to provide some input, i.e. to go beyond the provision of feedback. We will need to think about this, but last week I had an idea of how frustrating it must be in Gaza, having developed strengths (….in chosen fields….in the English language…..in the ‘soft’ skill of helping a student to grow…) which, because of the siege, are so hard to fully make use of.

Here is a link to the document with the task. The students were given a sample of student’s writing and had to provide constructive feedback on it. The document also includes feedback from UoG staff on the students’ feedback.

The students were also asked to fill in a questionnaire regarding the task and we shall be reflecting on their answers in order to plan improvements to the task. A couple of students expressed willingness to write their reflections on the process of completing the task and hopefully we’ll be able to share them on the blog.

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