By TPBI Newsletter

Giving Feedback, it’s important for the fostering of good teacher-students relationships

Penny Ur. (1996:242) defines FEEDBACK as “Information … given to the learner about his or her performance of a learning task, usually with the objective of improving this performance”. This definition implies the understanding that consciously the teacher makes some efforts to judge the students’ language and then gives comments for the good of the students’ language production. What is the different then between CORRECTION and FEEDBACK? Correction means to solely give comments on students’ errors while feedback means to give comments on things that are right and also shows a positive attitude to error-making as a useful part of learning.

Giving feedback requires the teacher to first of all realize that it is common for each student to make mistake and students may learn better from the mistakes they make. When the students do not feel threatened by the teacher’s positive attitude toward their mistakes the supportive atmosphere is created and the students are highly motivated to learn language. What kinds of feedback are given after students finish their language tasks?


The main purpose of a language task is to make the students better able to communicate using the target language. That is why the first thing that the teacher should pay attention to is the information conveyed in the students languages. The teacher should carefully consider whether the contents of the students’ sentences are appropriate to the task. For example when the task is for the students to discuss the Independent Day and one of the students says “well, we had our independent day on the early August 1945” the teacher then says “do you mean in the middle of August” since 17th August is not anymore early August this teacher is said to give content feedback. Meanwhile, when another student says “Mr. Soekarno proclaim the Independent of Indonesia on behalf of the nation …” and the teacher then says “be careful with your verb” this teacher is giving form feedback. This teacher wants the student to produce the correct form of the verb ‘proclaim’ which should be changed to ‘proclaimed’ because it happened in the past.


Many experts say that the most highly valued classroom activity is giving feedback because many researches show that students expect feedback from teachers. It is recommended that teachers give feedback without delay since students can easily remember the feedback when they are still in the context of the lesson. Even though it is not fruitless to give postponed feedback but it is will take some extra energy for the students to remember what exactly did they say and do in the previous lesson.

The aim of the task is the first consideration on when teachers shall give feedback. If the aim of the task is fluency, or the content of the students’ sentences is more important than the form, teachers should wait until students finished the task. However, if the aim of the task is accuracy, or the form of the students’ sentences is more important than the content, teachers are suggested to give feedback directly after they find some errors in students’ sentences. Some ways of giving content feedback are as follow:

 Acknowledging a correct answer

 The teacher says, e.g.: “Good”, “Yes”, “That’s right”, “Fine”, etc

 Indicating an incorrect answer

 The teacher says, e.g.: “No, that’s not quite right.”


 The teacher compliments, e.g.: “Yes, that’s an excellent answer”, etc.

 Expanding or modifying an answer

 The teacher adds more information or rephrases.


 The teacher repeats the student’s answer


 The teacher gives a summary of what the student or group has said.


 The teacher openly criticizes what the student has said

(taken from: Richard&Lockhart. Reflective Teaching in Second Language Classroom. 1994. CUP)

Whereas some ways of giving form feedback are as follow:

  • Asking the student to repeat what he/she has said. (When he/she is still unable to process the correct form, stop doing it and directly show the correct form)
  • Pointing out the error and asking the students to self-correct
  • Commenting on the error and explaining why it is wrong
  • Asking another student to correct the error.
  • Using a gesture to indicate that an error has been made.

If teachers think it’s important to do both content and form feedback, content feedback comes before form feedback.


Teacher are expected not to confuse the students when they are giving feedback by:

  • Avoiding imprecise feedback, very often it is not enough just to say the correct version.
  • Being consistent (always correct errors no matter who say it)
  • Only connecting errors made within the limit of the students’ language level (It is not necessary to ask the students to think of something, which they haven’t learnt.
  • Focus on errors that impede communication of meaningful discourse (if students are able to perform the task do not interrupt the activity to correct and praise because it will disrupt the flow of the task.


To ease your way to give feedback below are tools that you may use:

  • Pen and Paper: You can just random note or organize what you’ve found during the task monitoring.
  • Tape Recorder: Record the discussion and play it back so that students are able to self-correct their mistakes afterwards.
  • Video: The students are able to watch themselves and may focus on both content and form feedback.


to foster (verb) : memperkuat

consciously (adverb) : secara sadar

solely (adv.) : hanya/sekedar

attitude (noun) : sikap

to be conveyed (passive verb) : tercakup

on behalf of … (idiom) : atas nama …

delay (noun) : penundaan

fruitless (adj.) : tidak bermanfaat

fluency (noun) : kefasihan

accuracy (noun) : ketepatan

to acknowledge (verb) : mengakui

to praise (verb) : memuji

imprecise (adj.) : tidak tepat

to impede (verb) : menghalangi

to disrupt (verb) : mengganggu

afterwards (adv.) : sesudahnya

written by : Mr. Ruwandi, MA

uploaded by: Marisa Fran Lina, S.PdI