Education as a value system is one that is built on the ideal of effective communication. Right from the time of the Indian Gurukul system, where oral tradition of passing on knowledge from one generation to another occurred, to modern times, where content is delivered on online platforms for students to access worldwide, talking and delivering as well as listening and receiving, form imperative parts of the process of learning. The only way forward is to channel this communication to make the process most effective and useful.
Feedback is a relatively new concept, being used by teachers and students alike in order to identify and keep best practices and strengthen areas of development. While teachers/mentors/parents need to keep in mind that feedback must be constructive, specific and action oriented, the same applies for the approach of the person on the receiving end.
Following are a few tips that will help you make the finest use of feedback and create the best version of yourself.
- Trust the process and people
Understand that the person giving you feedback are ones with experience and learning in the field. There are no vested interests or partiality here, all is said and done for your betterment. Keeping this in mind, and trusting that you are being helped, will allow you to open your mind and thus facilitate learning and progress.
- Communicate and resolve any doubts
If you have been given feedback you don’t seem to understand, or feel is misplaced, take the time out to resolve this with your teacher/mentor/parent. Approach them with an open mind, so as to understand the context of the feedback and the reason behind them making a statement. When you do this, you will better know the place from which this feedback comes from and will allow you to change your mind. Incase you feel the feedback is not constructive, communicate this.
- Create an action plan
There is an effect of feedback only if an action to act upon that feedback is taken. Analyze the feedback given to you, and perhaps discuss it with your mentor in terms of next steps. If you have been given appreciation for a particular area, identify how you can keep your successes. Similarly if you are given suggestions on areas of development, try to plan a way to strengthen them. An easy and effective method for the same is backward planning. Look at the feedback, and set a goal with a timeline. Then break it down into small goals, and targets with smaller timelines.
- One step at a time
Set achievable and realistic goals. Talk to someone if you don’t feel prepared to set these goals. Remember, things don’t turn around in a day, nor can everything be fixed in one go. Take one thing at a time, and focus on your current priority. Even if feedback is given for various things to be worked on, choose what you think is most important and go for it!
- Review your feedback after a while
Somewhere down your timeline and action plan, go back to feedback. Check for progress. Approach the person who gave you feedback, and look for change. If you are still stuck with the same feedback, you need to tweak your plan.
- Celebrate yourself
When you receive feedback, human tendency often makes us stress on the things not in our favor and we tend to forget the successes. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, their life, context, strengths and weaknesses are vastly different. Look at all the progress you have made. Applaud your successes, however small they may be to motivate yourself and keep going.
Together, we can be better!