Free «Praise and Feedback in the Secondary EFL Classroom» Essay Sample


In my opinion, feedback and praise are the most vital aspects that make and craft our society nowadays. I would not doubt or hesitate, not a slight percentage, the significance of feedback and praise on the core of our lives, whether in the classroom, at work, in society in general, or whenever a constructive conversation is taking place between two or more people. In this paper, I have profoundly introduced the sense and meaning of praise and feedback in its various forms and occurrences, yet my focal echelon accentuated those joint terms at classroom and amongst teachers and students, in addition to relevant perspectives that encompass them both. I have provided my paper a brief study that observes and scrutinizes some of the effects that praise and feedback comprise regarding teachers’ and students’ standpoints and responses on that matter. I have stated some different perspectives regarding some researches that have been conducted. Some with, and other against, noting that I deeply and fondly support feedback and praise on all levels.

Definition of Praise and Feedback: A Generic Outlook

Feedback is the procedure in which the result or yield of a deed is response to alter the subsequent action. Feedback is indispensable to the working and endurance of all narrow systems instituted throughout existing and lifeless nature, and in synthetic structures such as education system and economy. As a joint current, feedback is intrinsic to all relations, whether person-to-person, person-to-device, or device-to-device. In a managerial framework, feedback is the data turned over to a person or group regarding its preceding conduct, so that the being may regulate its existing and upcoming actions to pull off the preferred upshot. Feedback comes about when a milieu responds to an act or conduct. For instance, consumer feedback' is the customers' response to a business's merchandise and regulations, and 'operational feedback' is the internally produced records on a company's effectiveness and efficiency. A reaction to a stimulus, such as criticism or praise, is believed to be a feedback, if it merely reveals and causes a transformation in the receiver's actions.

A prevailing method that you can arbitrate as a teacher is by being cautious about the approach you exploit in students’ praise. In this paper, praise relates to positive feedback generated to students by educators and others on particular academic results. Praise only relates to constructive feedback; feedback by itself can be either constructive or unconstructive. Proffering praise for students’ efforts and attempts can modify this attitude so that students may be able to start perceiving their own aptitude as an aspect that can be expanded. This outlook of evolving intellect will reinforce students’ capacity to “recover”, regardless of academic delays and further complexities. Praise brings about augmented flexibility; in this context, flexibility refers to the course of properly adapting, in spite of difficulties at school, work, family or other facets of life; and comprising a selection of substitute strategies that can be exploited when one fails. Resilience or flexibility is an approach that can be enhanced and expanded with thought and endeavor, when scholars run into impediments and dilemmas.

Teachers recurrently employ praise as an instructional tactic to boost the incidence of children’s positive social and academic performances. From the outside, praise seems to be a straightforward approach that the tutor alone can apply. Nevertheless, in fact, praise is a multifaceted give-and-take procedure that mutually encompasses the teacher who generates praise, and the students who are the receivers of that praise. The efficiency of a teacher’s exploitation of praise is impacted by the student’s personal and educational divergences, distinct circumstances where praise has been formerly granted to them (Henderlong & Lepper, 2002; Lam, Yim, & Ng, 2008), and attributes of the praise proffered. Children from diverse environments and knowledge, counting socio-economic groups, aptitude levels, developmental levels, and sexual characteristics, may retort to praise in a different way (Hitz & Driscoll, 1988).

Feedback is accentuated as records granted a teacher, peer, book, parent, person, or even knowledge, as regards to facets of one’s performance or perception. An instructor or parent can offer counteractive information, a peer can offer a substitute tactic, a book can supply information to simplify notions, a close relative can offer support, and a student can search for the answer to assess the accuracy of an answer. Feedback hence is an “upshot” or “consequence” of a line of conduct.

Attributional Feedback

Attributions were initiated to the psychosomatic literature by Heider (1958). Illustrating on his approach, Weiner (1979) devised an attributional model appropriate to attainment contexts. In this system, attributions are classified according to three measurements: locus (inside or outside the person), stability (moderately constant or unbalanced in due course), and controllability (mainly controllable or uncontrollable by the individual). Effort is internal, unbalanced, and convenient, which is fairly constructive to inspiration. People who do well at a certain assignment and deem that they can persist on working hard, are more prone to anticipate potential achievement and be aggravated to apply the effort. People who do not exert significant strength and execute inadequately on an assignment are more prone to be urged and inspired to carry on if they trust that harder work will eventually generate accomplishment.

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Praise and Feedback in the Classroom: An In Depth Dual Scrutiny, Examining Diverse Facets of Feedback and Praise with Regards to Students and Teachers

Generating successful written feedback is one of the key responsibilities for English writing teachers (Hyland, 1998; Hyland & Hyland, 2001). As teacher feedback has been designated to be pleasing for the growth of student writing (Ferris & Roberts, 2001; Ferris, 2004; Goldstein, 2004; Zhang, 1995), dispute continues over whether written feedback must be granted as it is repeatedly ignored and misinterpreted by students (Bitchener, Young & Cameron, 2005; Guénette, 2007; Truscott, 1996). Teacher feedback has been assessed for being result-focused, since it takes place most regularly at the closing stages as a result of time and class limitations. (Yang, Badger & Yu, 2006). Another notion dispute that as higher-attaining scholars tend to retort surely, and take advantage from educator feedback, less attaining students react weakly and are regularly required to be urged to understand the teacher’s remarks (Guénette, 2007). Research in contrast, has stated that peer feedback also can add to students’ writing (Jacobs, 1987; Tsui & Ng, 2000; Yang, Badger & Yu, 2006). Peer review is currently regularly applied in the writing classroom, where it has been illustrated to have constructive upshots on students’ writing progression and result (Paulus, 1999; Lundstrom & Baker, 2009). Whilst investigations have shown that teacher feedback is likely to produce more remarks at the grammatical stage, peer feedback can produce more remarks on the substance, group, and terms (Paulus, 1999). In addition to valuable outcomes on the eminence of writing, peer feedback has benefits, such as increasing decisive judgments, student independence and social communication among scholars (Yang, Badger & Yu, 2006). The application of peer feedback permits students to obtain more personal remarks besides granting critics the chance to perform and expand diverse language talents (Lundstrom & Baker, 2009).

This brief range qualitative observation scrutinized teachers’ and students’ insights on praise and feedback in the classroom, employing prearranged interviews and classroom studies. A case study method was exploited, where students and teachers from a sole school were involved. Some 76 scholars and 6 teachers were questioned independently or in small clusters. The results recommended that numerous variables are required to be deemed when employing praise and feedback in the secondary classroom. Cautious reflection should be granted to the kind of praise and feedback exploited by educators within their classrooms. Younger students favor ‘ability’ feedback, and as they develop, their favor for ‘effort’ feedback augments. Most prominently, broad, unfocused praise was mainly and regularly deployed within the classroom, however this kind of praise is not useful, since it is not associated to a particular conduct or aimed to the flourishing conclusion of an assignment. The upshots of this observation propose that tutors must employ less universal, unfocused praise, more effort and ability comment, and stress more on ability than effort feedback to younger students (grades 7-10) and more effort than skill feedback to elder students (grade 11).


A sample of 76 students in grades 7 to 11 (aged 14 to 17 years) was arbitrarily chosen from a particular primary school in Australia to partake in this specific study. Thirty-nine of the students had person interviews and 38 students took part in a faction interview with five or six students of parallel age. There were 40 (54%) males and 36 (46%) females. 6 teachers, two males and four females, participated in discussions in addition to classroom examination. A single instructor taught reading improvement; thus classroom examination was one-on-one in this specific case.


Prearranged interview queries were applied for the students’ (personal and collective) and the teachers’ interviews to guarantee reliability in the questions inquired. The questions investigate a variety of issues concerning the application of praise within the classroom. All interviews were aurally recorded, and the data set down under the titles of the questions. The Principal Canvasser established the educator interviews, which were just about 25-35 minutes apiece, while the Investigator Associate carried out the student group and personal interviews, which were roughly 15-20 minutes each.

The Structural Observational Schedule (SOS) was exploited in the classroom examinations and was managed by the Research Associate. This program relies on Observing Pupils and Teachers In Classrooms (OPTIC) (Merrett & Wheldall, 1986), and was altered to trace academically-centered feedback/praise via instructors. The schedule examined the selection of feedback/praise specified, and the four categories scrutinized were: Ability Attributional Feedback (“You are an excellent reader”, “You have the skillfulness to be fine in math”, “You give the impression of being very clever in Sciences”); Effort Feedback (“You have been practicing hard”, “Your results in math reveal the immense endeavor you have presented”, “You are a self-starter in reading”); General Praise (“Astonishing work”, “Congratulations”, “Sustain the good work”) and Negative statement (“Come on, you can perform much better”, “That’s incredibly messy work”, “That’s not satisfactory”).


Interviews were carried out in a confidential chamber and were traced aurally. Scholar interviews, both personal and group, were executed throughout class time, while instructor interviews were implemented before the beginning of school. Observations were performed two times a week for four unremitting weeks, tallying four hours of examination for every group of students. A whole classroom observation lasted 35 minutes, executed in seven chunks of five minutes respectively. The observer focused on the tutor, simply to verify the teachers’ reactions to the students. The Research Associate carried out every classroom observation via the SOS. Ethics consent and deliberate approval were acquired.

Data Analysis

The information resulting from the recorded interviews was assessed and reviewed under the title of every inquiry. Each instructor interview transcription was independently examined, then a synopsis was concluded merging all the teachers’ reactions below the title of the queries.


The upshots from the interviews and examinations are offered via the three key questions given previously: 1. a) what are students’ perspectives of helpful forms of praise? b) What are students’ reactions to praise? c) What are students’ likings for ability or effort attributional feedback? 2. What are teachers’ perspectives of the employment of praise and feedback within their classroom? 3. How frequently do teachers exploit praise and feedback within the classroom?

Students’ Perspectives of Effective types of praise.

The younger students, years 14 and 15, sensed that the instructor must praise them for what they deemed as ‘good behaviour’. Good behaviour was depicted by the scholars as “being good, not causing calamity during class, following guidelines, being polite to others, not talking, and proper and tidy work”. Nevertheless, by year 16, the students perceived that the tutor ought to praise them for respecting deadlines, revealing the best in them and possessing a constructive attitude. By year 17 the students interrogated sensed that teachers must admire them for attaining a goals and plans, wrapping up tasks, and for the endeavor and passion that they have invested in their tasks.

Students’ responses to praise.

Students designated that they experienced contentment when they were praised. Many stated that they felt self-importance, it was inspiring, thus wanting to exert more effort to attain additional praise, and that they by and large, felt internally satisfied and happy. One statement from a 7th year student mentioned that he found himself at fault when praised. The student clarified that this reaction took place when they initially received the praise, however succeeding praise was acceptable. Not any student mentioned that they hated to be honored.

Ability or Effort Attributional Feedback?

The upshots of this observation illustrated that the partakers had a fondness (57%) for effort feedback over ability feedback. The younger students, of years 14 and 15, incline towards the ability feedback (“Your reading is excellent, you’re very smart in reading”), whereas the older students have a favorite for effort feedback (“Your exerting a lot of hard work into your reading, you’ve been practicing hard on your reading”). A remark from a year 16 students was attention-grabbing: the student mentioned that he would prefer to be praised for effective work, except if it was a matter in which he was very good, he would then prefer to be praised for his cleverness. When the students were asked whether they tend to be praised openly or in private, 60% were in favor of private and individual praise and 40% were favorites of public praise.

Teachers’ Perspectives

Instructors’ perspectives of the exploitation of ability and effort feedback within their classrooms differed. Three of the professors sensed that they have mutually employed ability and effort feedback within their classroom. A single teacher felt that a student with studious aptitude yet required effort feedback to urge them beyond, whilst the other instructor specified that she employed the words “ability” and “effort” with the students and praised equally for academic and collective responses. The remaining teachers sensed that they exploited effort feedback a bit more. One considered that if they only utilized ability, some students would not obtain any form of praise. Two teachers stated that they realized younger students have a preference for effort appraisal; however as they got older, they preferred ability, since they turned into being more academically-oriented. 


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