I have started reading Feedback in Higher and Professional Education edited by David Boud and Elizabeth Molloy. Before I dropped it in the tub (because that’s where all the best reading happens) I had already begun to think about feedback differently.
First of all, when an educator grades and provides “feedback” to an assignment, it is a very one-way process. Optimal feedback is a conversation. In the world of adult learning theory, contructivism and heutagogy, it should be learner centered and directed. Of course learners do not always know what they do not know-that is in many ways, the goal of the educator as guide/mentor/facilitator. So when giving feedback, I think, even on assignments, the educator must first reflect on what the learner needs, not on what the educator thinks they need. Or assumes.
In simulation, debriefing is meant to be a self-reflective process, driven by the learner. But it can be difficult for those of us used to being the “teacher” in the room to allow the student to elicit the specific feedback he or she feels they need. I struggle with it often. I do try to ensure that by the end of the session, the key learning objectives have been met and any misinformation, or grievous errors clarified. But I will admit I tend to let the minutae go so that students will absorb the feedback they are open to. I am going to try to adapt my technique to be more mindful of that perspective and see how that changes the effectiveness of my debriefing.