Anyone Can Teach Series- Part 4- Verbal Feedback.

Welcome back to our “Anyone Can Teach” basic teaching ideas series. This week’s advice comes from

Dr Andrew Main. He is a Learning Impact Leader with CEL and local School Governor on behalf of BU.


Tip of the Day:

When asked for his top teaching tip, he stressed the importance of using verbal feedback with students to accelerate learning.


He believes that verbal feedback is more personal and much quicker than written feedback.  He also feels it is better liked by students because they hear the intonations of your voice (“quite good” can be said as high praise, or disappointment).


For him, the secret to success is to start by saying “Hello <first name>, <opening clause>, I expect you would like to know where the missing marks went.”  That means you can talk to the student who got 20%, or 85% on the same basis.  Then you can explain (or even ask them) what they can do to get more marks, which also frees you from being negative.  You could refer to a copy of the BU generic assessment criteria as a point of reference.


His example is as follows: <opening clause> may be 90% “Super work!”, 80% “Very well done”, 70% “Well done”, “60%  “Pretty good”, “50% “It’s a fair piece of work”, 40% “I expect you knew it was not great”, 30% “I imagine you weren’t expecting a good mark”, etc.


Don’t forget you can record audio feedback within Brightspace (if you need help with this please contact the CEL team).


It might be appropriate to provide less feedback to students as they progress to their second and third year.  Indeed this article supports that view:

Zimbardi et al. (2017) Are they using my feedback?  The extent of student’s feedback use has a large impact on subsequent academic performance.  Assessment and Evaluation in HE. 42 (4)


Image of the day:


More from this series:

Anyone can teach series- 3. Be Prepared!





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