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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What are the Four Types of Feedback a Mentor Can Give His or Her Mentee?

What is feedback? Feedback is the observational data the mentor gives to the mentee.


Why is feedback given to the mentee? As a madrich/madricha, student, novice, beginning, advance beginning, or veteran teacher we cannot see everything that occurs when we are working with students or teaching. The purpose of giving feedback is to help the mentee improve his or her professional practice.


There are four types of feedback: Technical, constructive positive, constructive negative and corrective feedback. In the chart that follows definitions and sample applications of the four types of feedback are given.


Note: Lisa is the mentee in the application of these interpersonal skills.


Interpersonal Skills

Definition as it

Applies to a Mentee

Sample Application of the Mentor Teacher

Giving technical


To let the mentee know what you have observed without making any value judgments.

“Lisa, I saw four students resting their heads on their desks while you were teaching. I also noticed that their eyes were closed. You didn’t make any intervention. Tell me more about that.”


constructive positive


To let the mentee know that you have observed some teaching practice that she did well.

“Lisa, I noticed that you used three seconds of "wait time",[1] and asked the students not to raise their hands until you gave them a signal to do so. That was excellent. This insures that more students will respond to your questions, and at a higher level of thinking. I'm pleased to see this.”

Giving constructive negative feedback

To let the mentee know that you have observed a teaching practice that she did not do well.

“Lisa, we’ve discussed several times that you would start the lesson with a "quiet signal"[2] to let the students know that you are ready to begin instruction. It took you five minutes to begin your lesson. I'm not pleased.”

Giving corrective feedback

To let the mentee know what she can, and should do to improve her professional practice.

“Lisa, I noticed that when you asked your first question, you used three seconds of wait time; that was excellent. Next time, I’d like you to use wait time and peer rehearsal time[3]. That is, have students form pairs, and discuss their answers for a brief period of time before you ask for their responses. Okay?”

[1] Wait time is another term for think time.

[2] We will elaborate on the quiet signal in another blog.

[3] Peer rehearsal time is pair practice before sharing information with the entire class.


In tomorrow’s blog post we will discuss this question: What is the Mentee to Do Upon Receiving Feedback From His or Her Mentor?

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