The Importance of Feedback


This short instructional video that explains the concepts outlined in “The Power of Feedback” by John Hattie and Helen Timperley.

Providing reasonable goals and constructive feedback are two of the most powerful strategies which a teaching assistant can use in the classroom. Hattie and Timperley define constructive feedback and addressing the three factors to define the goal – where am I going? How am I going? Where to next?

According to the four levels of feedback, which make this conversation flow and goal orientated, we must be aware of what the feedback is addressing and where it sits – the task level, process level, self-regulation level and ultimately the most counterproductive which is the self-level.

Watch the short video and analyse how you provide feedback and whether it meets the suggested standards defined in this model.


Speaker 1 (00:01):

The power of feedback by John Hattie and Helen Timperley. While constructive feedback can be one of the most effective methods to enable learning, when done incorrectly it can do more harm than help. That’s why John Hattie and Helen Timperley studied what types of feedback and conditions allow learning to flourish and what cases stifled growth. To begin with, Hattie and Timperley define feedback as information provided by an agent such as a teacher, peer, book, etc. regarding aspects of one’s performance or understanding. According to the study, feedback is intended to help a student get from where they are to where they need to be. The article, “The Power of Feedback,” describes many ways this can be done. The students have two options, either they try harder and exercise more effective methods or they lower their goal. Ideally, teachers will attempt to give constructive review so that the student will implement the first strategy instead of its alternative.

Speaker 1 (00:52):

What teachers can do to aid the students is provide reasonable goals, as well as help students reach them through constructive feedback. But what is constructive feedback? Hattie and Timperley define it as a response that answers these three questions: Where am I going? Which defines the goal. How am I going? Which describes what the students’ currently doing. And where to next? Which guides the student to the next step toward attaining their goal. Ideally, these three questions are woven together to enhance the students’ understanding of what needs to be done.

Speaker 1 (01:20):

According to the article, there are four different levels of feedback that may reflect these questions: the task level, process level, self-regulation level, and the self level. The task level involves feedback regarding how well the student has performed the task. It’s the most common type of feedback, as the article claims that about 90% of questions posed by the teachers are aimed at this level. While it can be effective while addressing interpretations, it’s rarely efficient and it doesn’t generalize what the student needs to improve, it simply defines what exactly needs to be corrected for a specific project. The process level leads students to consider how they obtain information and how their task is connected to relating tasks. It challenges the students to form a deeper understanding of learning and encourages them to construct meaning on their own, which proves more effective. This promotes error detection, which is when a student reflects on their own work.

Speaker 1 (02:09):

The next level is the self regulation level, which addresses the way the students examine and adjust their action toward their learning goal. Like the process level, this encouraged the students to self-assess, but to an even more critical degree, which is why it is also considered effective. However, students that are not confident in their own abilities or who are not as effective of learners will not benefit from this type of feedback. The fourth and final level is a self level. Also used too often in classrooms, this type of feedback involves reflection on the person and not their work. It typically builds a student up, but gives them little direction toward improvement. The articles suggest that this type of feedback is in fact counterproductive and interferes with the student’s ability to self-assess. That is why instead of complimenting students, teachers are encouraged to compliment either the students’ work or the way in which he or she has done it. However, each student responds differently to each form of feedback. And while certain types are generally more effective than others, it is important to designate which form must always be used.

Speaker 1 (03:06):

Ultimately, the teacher must be familiar with what enables each student to grow individually in order to enhance the learning process for every being in their classroom.



Websites – Department for Education. – The Training and Development Agency for Schools – Child Development Institute – NHS – Teachernet – Department for Education. – The Training and Development Agency for Schools


Books and Policy Papers


  • Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (Primary) (Burnham)  ISBN 9780435032043 (Heinemann 2010)
  • Understanding Schools as Organisations (Handy & Aitken) ISBN 9780140224900 (Penguin Books Ltd 1986)
  • Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (Primary) (Burnham)  ISBN 9780435032043 (Heinemann 2010)
  • A Teaching Assistant’s Guide to Child Development (Bentham) ISBN 9780415311083 (Routledge, 2003)
  • Successful School Transition (Dawrent) ISBN 9781855034358 (LDA, 2008)
  • Understanding Children and Young People: Development from 5-18 Years (Lindon) ISBN 9780340939109 (Hodder, 2010)