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Public feedback - but personal feedforward?

Cowan, John; Chiu, Yi-Ching Jean


John Cowan

Yi-Ching Jean Chiu


Academic feedback is taken here as the reporting to student writers of the strengths and weaknesses of their submitted draft work, while academic feedforward refers to constructive advice regarding possible strengthening of students’ next work. Both originate from a tutor’s initial judgement of a student’s work. Feedback and feedforward on work showing need for improvement are problematic in a Confucian Heritage Culture. Even gently constructive advice within a programme seeking evidence for assessment of critical thinking may lead to perception of hurtful criticism by Taiwanese students. Some could withdraw from class activity accordingly. So the writers adjusted their response style. They now choose between different approaches featuring tutorial feedback or feedforward, depending on the standard of work being judged. When individual postings feature poor critical thinking, the writers opt for private messages concentrating on constructive feedforward. For better postings, they provide positive feedback with reasons for their judgements, and summarise to the class these exemplars of generic strengths in critical thinking. They also offer private prompting when they see scope for further enrichment of an able student’s critical thinking. This might also be a useful practice when tutoring solely in the West.


Cowan, J., & Chiu, Y. J. (2012). Public feedback - but personal feedforward?. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, 4,

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2012
Deposit Date Sep 7, 2012
Publicly Available Date Dec 31, 2012
Electronic ISSN 1759-667X
Publisher Association for Learning Development in Higher Education
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Keywords Confucian Heritage Culture; feedback; feedforward; strengths; weaknesses; public; private
Public URL


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