Journal on Empowering Teaching Excellence


Providing feedback on student work is a fundamental aspect of instruction and an important part of the learning process. A considerable amount of literature describes the pedagogical value of different types of feedback—explicit vs. implicit, comprehensive vs. selective, direct vs. indirect, and feedback on content vs. feedback on form—thus treating feedback primarily as an instructional/informational phenomenon. It must be remembered, however, that there is a real person behind each paper; therefore, interpersonal aspects of teacher feedback should not be disregarded. This article discusses five principles of responding to student writing that take into account this interpersonal nature of feedback: providing positive comments, avoiding appropriating student writing, responding as a reader, involving students in the revision process, and minimizing student frustration. The author suggests that these principles can help instructors deliver supporting and encouraging feedback that will be able to demonstrate their genuine interest in students’ ideas, acknowledge students’ efforts and writing progress, respect their voice and agency, and foster their growing motivation and self-confidence as writers.

This is a special republication of an article that originally appeared in the Fall 2020 issue. It is republished due to a versioning error in the earlier issue. The error has been corrected in the Fall 2020 issue as well.