If you champion Verbal Feedback, as opposed to written feedback, people will get you over a barrel. People who get paid more than you will ask you the question, “If I asked one of your students what they needed to do to improve, would they be able to tell me?” The truthful answer is, of course, no. Not all students would be able to articulate how to improve, and they wouldn’t be able to for a number of reasons:
1. Firstly, learning a concept means that you are a novice in it. Novices do not have the same capacity-or vocabulary- as experts to reflect or articulate what they need to do to improve. I’m currently learning Italian. I’m improving, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what I need to do next. I just keep doing the tasks I’m given and I keep on improving.
2. Not all learners are aware they are learning.
3. Not all learners realise that a learning experience is a learning experience.
4. Learning involves being in a state of liminality; that is, a strange state of confusion, doubt, struggle, and generally being unsure. This state of liminality is rarely conducive to explaining clearly and effectively, to someone in a suit jacket, what you need to do to improve.