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The Teacher Tip

Give Students Individualized, Goal-Driven Feedback

December 6, 2017

Adapted from A Mindset for Learning by Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz

As teachers, we keep each child’s bridgeable goals and their work toward mastery in our minds simultaneously. We think about what can propel them forward today and what kind of writers, mathematicians, thinkers and people we want them to be in twenty years. How might we use goals during feedback to maximize our students’ academic growth?

Try this:

  • Think about what kind of feedback would be most effective for the student you are working with and make sure that the student understands what you’re saying. You may want them to try out what you are teaching or rephrase the feedback in their own words.
  • When you’re giving feedback, be sure that the student understands the ultimate purpose of their goal and what it will look like when they have met that goal.
  • Make sure your feedback addresses how a goal will be met and the steps they can take to make progress.
  • Give feedback in a manner that allows your student to be involved in their own goal-setting and leaves them both excited and prepared to tackle what’s next. As in all conferences, be sure to compliment the child on something they are doing well and the effort that it took to get there.

Before you meet with a child to set a goal, have a sense of where they are along a developmental continuum. Study their work and how they work. If we help our students internalize their goals through proper feedback, we help them own their goals.

To learn more about A Mindset for Learning and download a sample chapter, visit

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