Feedback – we all need it !

For those of us with children, you will probably remember that anxious wait until your child in some way gave you some recognition – that first smile (whether it be voluntary or not), is long awaited and cherished. We innately want and need feedback from those around us. It rewards our efforts and provides encouragement.    As that child progresses to being a teenager – some children but not all, seem to lose that ability for feedback as this hilarious video portrays.  Communication is transformed into monosyllabic grunts.    What parent does not long for feedback from their child and vice versa?

The teaching profession has always highlighted the need for feedback – positive reinforcement, rewards and even the marking of test scores gives feedback.  Some feedback is controversial and the concept of mandatory testing is the topic of another entire discussion. Who does not remember that nervous wait for an essay or test result?  The feeling of relief when it was ‘approved’ of by the teacher, the dissapointment when it was not up to scratch.

Feedback, is part of how we learn, we assess our ideas and ability based on reactions and in some case comparison.  Web 2.0 technologies have broadened the potential of feedback for all of us – as blogging teachers, we gain much from the comments of our readers (but it does amaze me how few readers actually leave feedback).

As blogging students, we are no longer just writing in our exercise book for the class teacher to tick, cross or maybe elephant stamp and then never to be seen again. The potential is, people all around the word may read what we have to say.  They can become a permanent record of our learning.   We might capture the imagination of like minded people from all corners of the globe.
Interesting discussions have followed the recent ISTE keynote presentation that seemed to have failed to capture many audience members attention.  Apparently, people were twittering quite negative feedback whilst the presentation was occurring.  On reflection, some people have apologised for that first reaction and many others have certainly pointed out that professional behaviour requires more consideration than was shown.  This was feedback in its most raw state – obviously feedback can be negative – however as teachers we are trained to look for the positive.
Following on from my previous blog on eportfolios , I remain convinced that they need to harness the potential of Web 2 and open themselves to feedback from the wider community.  I wonder about the whole intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation issue, but firmly believe there is a place for both in education. What do you think?