Feedback, Content and People


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

I have not participated in #Rhizo15 as much as I would have liked to. However, I have definitely dwelled on the various topics. Although a little belated, this is something of a response to Dave Cormier’s wondering about the myth of content.


As a part of the roll out of my school’s instructional model. We all chose a topic which we would like to delve into next. I chose to focus on ‘feedback’. Partly because I have a real passion for sharing learning and see a lot of potential for using technology to listen to voices in and out of the classroom. I also really like working with the people who were leading the group.

Although I already had collected some articles and posts on the topic in the past, I thought that I would put it out to my PLN to see what they might have to offer. So I sent the following Tweet:

What follows is the collection of posts, links and resources I got in return:

Is the Feedback You’re Giving Students Helping or Hindering?

Jon Andrews directed me to this post from Dylan Wiliam discussing the importance of feedback and how it is connected with persistence and the growth mindset. It discusses how some feedback can actually be unhelpful in regards to improving.

Feedback on Learning

In addition to Dylan Wiliam’s website, Jon Andrews also shared a link to a short video from Wiliam on importance of giving learners effective feedback as an integral component of formative assessment.

Feedback and Mindset

Dan Haesler directed me to his resources from all his presentations. This includes some really good information on the connection between assessment, feedback and mindset.

Webinar unpacking Embedding Formative Assessment

Jason Borton and Ross Halliday both recommended Dylan Wiliam’s book Embedding Formative Assessment. While Borton also directed me to this video/webinar, where Wiliam explores some practical techniques that teachers can use to develop their formative assessment classroom practice.

Using Gallery Walks for Revision and Reflection

Michelle Hostrup recommended BIE’s work in regards to gallery walks as a model for peer feedback. It provides suggestions how to structure such activities to make them specific and meaningful.

Feedback Matters

Shaun Allison shared a post he wrote collecting together an array of quotes and strategies associated with feedback. The best part is that he provides actual images and examples for each of the strategies that he discusses.

Feedback: Medals and Missions

Jennifer English pointed me to post from Geoff Petty who focuses on the ideas of ‘medals and missions’. Petty supports his discussion with plenty of proformas and research to further unpack the various ideas and arguments.

Formative Assessment

Cameron Paterson linked me to the slides for a presentation he did on formative assessment. Not only does he provide a really clear narrative in regards to assessment, but it also includes a great array of links and quotes. One of the interesting ideas is the potential of students and teachers engaging in the practise of Reggio inspired documentation.

Feedback for Learning (ASCD Vol 70 Num 1)

Peter DeWitt recommended a collection of articles on feedback from ASCD. This includes pieces from Dylan Wiliam to John Hattie to Grant Wiggins. It is also has a great infographic on the seven things to remember about feedback. A great summary of Wiggins’ piece. Although some articles need to be purchased, there are a few that are free.

Austin’s Butterfly

Andrea Stringer shared a short video from Ron Berger which highlights the importance of critique and feedback when striving for excellence. This is one of those presentations that really captures anyone of any age.

Visible Learning

Riss Leung argued that you can’t go past the chapter in John Hattie’s Visible Learning for  unpacking both the research and how it can be applied in the classroom.

3 Variables That Profoundly Affect the Way We Respond to Feedback

Although not responding to my call-out, Tom Barrett shared a link to this video from Big Think in his post written at much the same time. According to Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone, the co-authors of Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well, there are specific variables that distort the way we perceive feedback from others.


Having collected some people’s thoughts on feedback, it makes clear that content is actually people, as Cormier put it in his post. What is important isn’t that I find that one resource that satisfies what I already know and am looking for. Instead, as Cormier highlights,

What is important is that you come to know enough of the stories of a particular field in order to be able to function in that field.

With the discussion of people, stories and resources, I am again reminded of Dean Shareski’s adage about when we go to conferences,

If you leave with one or two people you can continue to learn with you’ve done well.

Too often we focus on collecting ideas and resources, as a stagnant process. Instead what we need to celebrate is the remixing and re-imagining ideas in new and innovative ways. As David Culberhouse describes in relation to the ideapreneur, a term coined by Peter Thiel in Zero to One,

The work of the ideapreneur is not always founded in the making, but often in the connecting of ideas and thinking that already exists in very new and novel ways.  Ideapreneurs are able to make connections that remix and reimagine our current world in very inventive and innovative ways.

If you have something to add, maybe a new idea or a different take on things. Comments are welcome as always.


If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.

Aaron Davis

I am an Australian educator supporting schools with the integration of technology and pedagogical innovation. I have an interest in how together we can work to make a better world.

Latest posts by Aaron Davis (see all)

Feedback, Content and People by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

5 thoughts on “Feedback, Content and People”

  1. I am not ‘doing’ rhizo15 but your post arrive in my email – presumably because the rhizo14 G+ group has been repurposed. I like your curation by PLN story because it emphasises a trusted network of people and things that gave you a starting point from which you made your own choices. Were you really choosing between people? or was your selection of resources based on the resource AND who recommended it. I really don’t know who actually believes in the myth of content. I taught from a textbook in my first job as a teacher but moved away from that approach as soon as possible. Process- and practice-oriented approaches to curriculum have been around for along time – I am thinking of Dewey. I would think of ‘content’ and people as a both/and not an either /or.
    I read your post because I remembered enjoying your posts on rhizo14, and now I am here I make up my own mind about what you are saying.

    1. Thank you for the comment Frances. I included all of the resources I got in return. I think that the untold story is that many came via recommendations. So Jon Andrews suggested touching base with Shaun Allison who shared a great post.
      In regards to the ‘myth’ of content, I agree with you about the Dewey comment. Someone recently made the same sort of comment to me in regards to Sir Ken Robinson (http://blog.coreknowledge.org/2010/10/25/he-must-be-right-hes-sir-ken-robinson/). However, to suggest that no one is in awe of content is sadly not true. I was recently told that we no longer need to worry about finding the right solution as Robert Marzano has done the research, therefore all we need to worry about is implementing his tried and true practises. I understand that this is moving away from ‘content’ or maybe it is not.
      I think that maybe ‘content’ is about stories and stories are about context.

Continue the conversation here ...