How feedback supports the creative process
Critique can be difficult with young students who are still developing their basic skills, knowledge, and competencies. Often when we hear the word "critic" or "critical," we automatically think of a negative critique. This view of criticism can be amplified in online environments where words like "hater" and "troll" are often associated with commenting on other people's work.
But in the Powerful Voices for Kids program, we understand how important it is for students to get in the process of giving each other constructive criticism. We model what we call warm and cool feedback. Students first offer one piece of warm feedback: this usually begins with positive phrases like "I liked..." or "I thought it was great when..." They then give one piece of cool feedback: this is something the student would change to improve the piece. It's important to remember that in cool feedback, we're being constructive. Just like construction workers, constructive commenters build up the person and work they are critiquing by thinking about how it could be even better. We've also been experimenting with sandwich feedback, which begins with a layer of warm feedback, followed by cool feedback, and then ending with warm feedback. Children and young people like this structure and can easily adapt it for use in many aspects of ordinary life.
1. Start with Experience. View the video Warm & Cool Feedback. After watching, discuss: What did you notice about the teacher's behavior? What did you notice about the children's behavior?
2. Consider Adaptation to Learners and Contexts. Define warm and cool feedback and consider how it may be applied in different settings, in and out of school.
Warm and cool feedback: A process of critique that helps authors develop their work. Warm feedback is the sharing of positive responses to a work. Cool feedback is a form of constructive criticism that offers authors ideas that help them imagine ways to strengthen or improve the work.
3. Compose, Create and Take Action. Experiment with using warm and cool feedback and observe its impact on the creative process.
GUIDING QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
- Why might it be useful to begin any display of student work with warm feedback instead of asking for general opinions and comments?
- How does warm and cool feedback support the process of revision?
- When is warm and cool feedback most appropriate in the learning or production process? When might it be less valuable?