This article examines three goals that should govern when giving feedback and goes on to offer advice about the appropriate style when giving it.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Business studies, careers, social studies

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What is the purpose of feedback?
  • When and how should it be given?

New Terminology:

Feedback sandwich

Materials Needed:

Copies of the article for the students.

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Often feedback is met with a reaction that is very surprising to the person who is giving it. Rather than being received positively, on occasion the receiver reacts in a resentful or confrontational manner, which catches the giver totally by surprise. The cause can be attributed to any one of a number of factors, or a combination of them. It may be the wrong time. Feedback might not have been desired. The manner in which the feedback was given could be off-putting. The situation could have been misinterpreted by the observer. These are only a few of the possible causes of negative reaction. If feedback is to have a positive result, which we all hope for, then certain aspects of the feedback need to be considered prior to the event. This lesson will have the students examine those aspects and reflect on effective ways of giving meaningful feedback.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students if they have ever, in a well-meaning fashion, given feedback to someone only to have a negative and surprising reaction.
  • Have them give examples of such experiences.
  • Once they have done this, pair up the students and have the pairs discuss what things should be considered prior to giving feedback to anyone.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Allow the pairs time to discuss this question and then solicit responses from them in a full class discussion, responding to any comments as they arise.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will:

  • Appreciate that feedback needs to be given in a careful and thoughtful manner;
  • Realize that there are aspects of feedback that need to be considered prior to giving any.

Confirming Activity:

  • Once the pairs have provided feedback, give them copies of the article to read.
  • Once they have read the article, ask them what additional insight they may have gained and how that insight will affect the way in which they give feedback in the future.