Friday, September 4, 2015

Feedback that works for black and white

[O]ne form of feedback did work, for both black and white students. I will call it the Tom Ostrom strategy. The feedback giver explained that he "used high standards" in evaluating the essays for publication in the teaching magazine. Still, he said, having read the student's essay, he believed the student could meet those standards. His criticism, this form of feedback implies, was offered to help the student meet the publication's high standards. Black students trusted this feedback as much as white students, and trusting it powerfully motivated them to improve their essay. For black students, the Ostrom style of feedback was like water on parched land—something they rarely seemed to get, but that, once they got it, renewed their trust and ability to be motivated by the criticism. 
Claude Steele, Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2010), pp. 162-63

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