Giving Feedback to Students

Feedback is critical for students to understand the effective aspects of their performance that they should replicate and the ineffective aspects that they should work on improving.  Consistent and constructive feedback will help the student build self-confidence and help them develop appropriate professional habits.


Below is a list of suggestions for providing effective feedback to students.  

  • Be specific – Feedback that is general or vague is hard to apply.

  • Be selective – Thoughtfully select the most important aspects of performance to discuss.

  • Be positive – Feedback may not always be about positive performance, but the tone and constructiveness in which it is delivered can always be positive.

  • Be constructive – Suggest alternatives.

  • Be succinct – Carefully choose words and check in for understanding.

  • Be honest – Feedback that glosses over deficiencies does not help the student learn or develop professionally.

  • Be respectful - Critique the performance, not the person.

  • Be timely – Feedback given long after the event is hard to apply and diminishes self-confidence.

  • Be regular – Feedback given on an ongoing basis supports consistent development.

  • Be private –Critique is best received when delivered privately.

  • Take ownership – Focus on “I needed clarification on...” rather than “You did not explain...”

  • Be supportive – Facilitate a conversation about performance, where students can be affirmed and supported, particularly when feedback suggests improvements.

To learn more about giving feedback, click here.

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Denise Platfoot Lacey

Professor of Externships

University of Dayton School of Law

300 College Park

Dayton, Ohio 45469-2772


Click here to email Professor Platfoot Lacey

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