What we believe we are isn’t always what others think we are. Do we all live in an illusion of the reality? Unfortunately, I don´t think I have the capacity to go further into this question. I do know that it is important to listen to others and I do think it is important to actively work with improvement.

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about feedback . I am not finished with that thought so I will try to write something more about the topic. It´s not always nice to get feedback from others, thus sometimes it hurts and sometimes its a joy. When teaching and learning, feedback can be given on different levels both for students and teachers. These six different feedback options is what I´ve come up with.

To students

  • 1. From the teacher – That’s ought to be me
  • 2. From a peer – A fellow partner in crime
  • 3. From themselves – It is important to practice and to put improvement into words

To me as a teacher

  • 4. From the students – The students experience are always interesting
  • 5. From a colleague – I would love to have a critical friend
  • 6. From myself – It is hard to be objective but important to strive for improvement

Feedback can be like a flower bouquet. Some are beautiful and some in colors we don´t prefer. All different comments are useful, however feedback is not a monologue. It´s occurs through interaction and dialogue so it is important to have a strategy for it. Multiple sources for feedback is always a good thing given the different perspective (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).

Photo: Tiny flowers by Cécile Vázquez (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

When teaching nursing students how to administer and handle central venous catheters in a way that is patientsafe I will use these six different feedback options. Here´s how I plan to do it.

  1. I move around and meanwhile the students are training practical skill procedures, in our clinical training center, I give them individual feedback, both direct on their performance and e.g. questioning why they chose to do some tasks in a specific order. I will try to balance the negative comments carefully with the positive once (Ramsden, 2003) and tailor them into their needs (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).
  2. Feedback given from a peer is sometimes more valuable then from the teacher (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). So I will ask them to observe, by using a checklist on the correct steps in the procedure they are training, ready to give feedback when finished.
  3. In long-term the goal and purpose of feedback is to foster the student to manage to given themselves feedback in the future. The students ability to evaluate their own performance is a key to life-long learning (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). According to, the Swedish Bachelor Programme in Nursing a nursing student are supposed to evaluate their ability to identify their need of further knowledge and continuously develop their skills (Högskoleförordningen, 1993). Before leaving the training I will ask them to write down on a paper what they think went well and what they think they need to know more about. As an offer they can put the paper in a box, like a letter to themselves and the future.
  4. I can have my feedback from two different sources, the students evaluation and the result of the assessment. (Ramsden, 2003). Don´t want to live in an illusion! I will ask the students to evaluate the training after their participation. As a new teacher it is extremely important for me to know if I succeeded to motivate them and if the students believes that they have learn about how to administer and handle central venous catheters in a way that is patientsafe. I will use Google docs for that purpose.
  5. In the world of academics we are used to give constructive criticism to each other aiming to improve research. Having a critical friend is kind of the same thing. A skilled colleague how gives you constructive criticism with the aim to improve your teaching (Handal, 1997; Lauvås et al., 1997). If you can´t find a personal critical friend, a collegian learning communities can be a good thing. Exploring and learning together meanwhile given each other feedback can enhance your own learning (Stuck et al., 2013).
  6. Self-knowledge is absolutely a good thing for a teacher. After I´ve had my classes in the training center I will give myself time to think it over and reflect on how to improve. I am very well aware of that feedback and reflection isn´t the same thing and in the future I will try to learn more about the topic and how to enhance students learning using reflection.

When I started to write this blog post I thought that feedback is feedback…is feedback and there is nothing more the feedback. It is extremely frustrating to realize , now, hours later, that each bullet point on my list could generate a whole assignment. Undoubtedly I will write about feedback again, but this will do for now.

Handal G, (1999) Consultation Using Critical Friends. New directions for teaching and learning, Issue 79.

Högskoleförordningen (1993:100) Sjuksköterskeexamen – Bachelor Programme in Nursing. (In Swedish)

Lauvås P, Hofgaard Lycke K, Handal G, (1997) Kollega-handledning i skolan. Studentlitteratur, Lund. (In Swedish)

Ramsden, P (2003) Learning to teach in higher education. 2nd edition. RoutledgeFalmer, London & New York.

Stuck S, Aubussona P,  Kearneya M, Burdenb K, (2013) Mobilising teacher education: a study of a professional learning community. Teacher Development, Vol. 17, No. 1, 1–18.

Svinicki M, McKeachie WJ (2014) McKeachie´s teaching tips. Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. 14th edition. Wadsworth.

Photo: Illusion by Mark Heath (CC BY-NC 2.0)



4 thoughts on “Illusions

Add yours

  1. THX Annica, you put the things in order. I think feedeback is great for growing and developing.
    Giving yourself or others compliments and celebrate your victories is the other part which is so important for selfconfidence and happyness in your work wich stimulates and motivates growing and developing. Greetings from The Netherlands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Francisca! So nice to get a comment 🙂 Hope your summer have been nice. It is absolutely true that positive feedback enhances your self-confidence. Maybe constructive feedback – the one that sometimes hurt a bit – is the type of feedback to improve yourself…?!


  2. Jag tror att det skulle vara intressant att vid tillfälle diskutera feedback med dig. Jag är inspirerad av Hattie och Dysthe och begreppet “utvecklande respons” alltså en feed-forward. Vi håller på och jobba lite kring ett begrepp som vi döpt till “anpassad utvecklande respons”.

    Liked by 1 person

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