University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Characteristics of Useful Feedback

Useful Feedback is:

  1. descriptive rather than judgmental. This helps prevent defensive responses.
  2. specific rather than general.
  3. focused on behavior rather than the person.
  4. focused on helping rather than hurting.
  5. focused on behavior that the teacher can do something about.
  6. actively sought by the teacher.
  7. an amount of information that does not overload the teacher.
  8. focuses on "what" or "how" (observed behavior) not "why" (why involves inference and motives that can bring resentment rather than learning).
  9. clearly communicated and can be rephrased by the receiver. Easy-to-understand language is used.
  10. shared within 3-7 days of the observation.
  11. provided with opportunities for further discussion.
  12. provided with clear suggestions about improvement that can be generated by the teacher based on questions by the observer.
  13. based on observations, so that any constructive criticism is justifiable.
  14. an opportunity to learn!