Edtech Entrepreneurs Should Fix The Broken Feedback Loop In Schools

We should recognize the importance of the feedback loop in classroom teaching and implement it in our daily and weekly teaching practices.


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Srinath works in a budget private school in Mysore. He is 25 years old and has done his graduation from the same town. He teaches Science to the children of grade 4. He works hard to ensure that the syllabus is completed on time. He explains the lesson, gives real-world examples and then diligently checks all the homework. When he asks questions, the choral response from the class makes it seem that the children do understand. Yet, when the exams happen, children score less. When he asks again, he finds that the children have not really understood the lesson and are unable to recall key points. He is frustrated that all his efforts have not made a difference on the learning front.

There are millions of teachers like Srinath who face this predicament. The cycle of teaching, classwork, homework and then having exams every 2-3 months is not enough to improve learning.

The power of feedback

We should recognize the importance of the feedback loop in classroom teaching and implement it in our daily and weekly teaching practices. 

Feedback = (How did your student do?) + (How could they do better?)

John Hattie, the author of the path-breaking book Visible Learning and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute, says, ‘Feedback has twice the impact on a student’s achievement than any other teaching strategy.’

There are three specific time windows for introducing feedback into the education system.

Before teaching a concept – Many topics require certain pre-requisites to be known. For example, fractions require knowledge of LCM. Before teaching fractions, we can do a short test or quiz to check whether students know the basics of LCM. Based on what the students don’t know, the teacher can then teach students the LCM basics to ensure that they are ready for learning fractions. In this way, taking feedback of knowledge of the pre-requisites before a concept is introduced helps better learning of the concept itself.

While teaching a concept – Our system is designed to check students after 2-3 months. If we have short diagnostic tests/quizzes during the teaching of a concept, then the teacher and the students can use this feedback to improve. This way any gaps can be remediated early on, rather than be disappointed by them at a term exam. 

After teaching a concept – Often, the teacher has taught a concept and then done 2 days of intense practice. The teacher conducts a short test and finds that children are able to solve or answer. Yet in the exams, the teacher finds that children are not able to solve correctly. This happens because the concept has not been revisited in the interim. For example, after teaching a grammar lesson on ‘Tenses’, they can have short quizzes on the concept after a duration of 6 days, then 21 days, then 46 days, and so on.

Putting feedback loop into practice in the classroom requires practical tools to be developed by edtech entrepreneurs. Teachers like Srinath are more than willing to help every child reach their potential; they only need tools – the right feedback tools. By innovating on feedback-based tools, edtech entrepreneurs will be doing a huge service to the nation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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