To what extent is feedback in teacher education ‘for learning’?

Research output: Other contribution


Feedback for student teachers during their work-based learning in schools offers significant advantages over feedback in the university-based element of their degree programme. Students receive frequent, often immediate, feedback from an experienced teacher who sees their gradual development and has only a few students to manage. This includes formal feedback linked to assessment criteria but also opportunities for informal, verbal feedback and dialogue that supports socialisation as a colleague. This study investigates how student teachers feel about feedback on their classroom teaching and what they do with that feedback. The study therefore asks how effective all this feedback is in terms of its impact on students’ learning and on their identity as a teacher. A mixed-methods approach first used a large scale survey of student teachers to consider their response to key issues highlighted in the literature on feedback. Semi structured interviews then focused on subtleties in how students’ understanding of feedback, and their engagement with it, relates to how they see their own learning needs. Analysis indicates an overall positive experience: students appreciate feedback from their tutors in schools. Feedback from this workplace setting could therefore be a useful model for improvement elsewhere in their programme. In particular, feedback is valued when it positions the student as a learner, but still respects their developing identity as a teacher. However, students typically adopt passive recipient roles regarding feedback. Even if feedback was prompt, detailed, personalised and frequent, its effectiveness was limited since students failed to engage with questioning or co-creating feedback to develop more sophisticated meaning. The analysis suggests that over-simplified models of teachers learning through reflection could encourage students to see learning from feedback as a mostly private activity. Improving students’ use of feedback therefore requires changes in the way feedback and dialogue are conceptualised within models of teacher reflection.
Original languageEnglish
TypePhD Thesis
Media of outputElectronic file
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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