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Guidelines for Giving Feedback

General Principles

  • Why is feedback important?
    It reinforces effective behavior and facilitates change.

  • Why is feedback difficult?
    We fear an emotional response (ours and the learners). Behaviorally specific feedback may evoke an emotional response and is important to recognize.We fear there may not be enough objective data. Objective data is easily obtained by observation and does not have to be scheduled or comprehensive.

  • When feedback is planned for and practiced, giving it becomes easier.

  • Feedback should be ongoing.
    Feedback is a continuous process that helps the learner and teacher reach their goals. Feedback should be a component of every educational activity.

Components of the Feedback Process

  • Establish learning environment
    Clarify goals and objectives for learning activity.
    Gather objective data regarding skills/attitudes/knowledge of   the learner.
    Consider timing-feedback should be given soon after the   observation.
    Pick a private, comfortable and non-threatening environment.
  • Give Feedback
    The Opening
      Ask the learner to evaluate his/her own performance.
        "How do you think it went?", "What do you think you did      well?", "What problems did you have?"
      Respond to and build upon learners self assessment.

    The Dialogue
    Continue to build on positive behavior, then move on to   behavior that can be improved.
    Focus on specific behaviors.
      "You did not shake the patients hand when you entered the   room." Not, "You seemed rushed."
    Restrict critique to 1-2 important points. Learners can only   take in a limited amount in one session.
    Use non-judgmental language.
      "You did not ask about the patient's expectations." Not,     "You did a poor job eliciting the patient's perspective."
    When feedback is subjective, label it as such.
      "I felt you were uncomfortable when the patient cried." Not,   "You seemed uncomfortable."
    Acknowledge and address emotions during the feedback   discussion.

    The Plan
    Problem solve together on ways to change behavior.
      "How else could you have said that?"
    Asses learners understanding of the feedback.

    Summarize the session and end with a positive comment.
    When appropriate, plan future feedback sessions.

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