Best of the Best: Feedback

By: Leah Kirkman , Isabella Wallace


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 150 x 125mm
Pages : 248
ISBN : 9781785831874
Format: Paperback
Published: June 2017

In Feedback, Isabella Wallace and Leah Kirkman explore our understanding of what is often cited as one of the most powerful tools for enhancing learning, drawing together ideas from leading international thinkers and practical strategies for busy teachers. The Best of the Best series brings together – for the first time – the most influential voices in education in a format that is concise, insightful and accessible for teachers. Keeping up with the latest and best ideas in education can be a challenge – as can putting them into practice – but this new series is here to help.

Each title features a comprehensive collection of brief and accessible contributions from some of the most eminent names in education from around the world. In this second volume in the series, Wallace and Kirkman have curated a collection of inspiring contributions on the theme of feedback and have developed practical, realistic, cross-curricular and cross-phase strategies to make the most of these important insights in the classroom.

Feedback can be understood and implemented in the classroom in a whole range of ways, as Wallace and Kirkman’s practical strategies – based on the contributors’ expert insights – demonstrate. From these contributions, each unique and enlightening in its own right, a number of key themes emerge. One is the need to get the balance right between praise and constructive critique by keeping feedback specific, detailed and firmly referenced to clearly explained criteria. Another is that these same principles should be applied whether the feedback is from teacher to student, teacher to colleague, student to teacher or student to student. Response to feedback is critical: the need to give students the time to reflect on it, to question it, to act on it. Also important is the manner in which feedback is given: kindly, constructively, in a timely way and in an atmosphere of trust. Above all, whether written or oral, effective feedback is primarily about clear, constructive and specific communication. Each expert has provided a list of further reading so you can dig deeper into the topic. In addition, the Teacher Development Trust has offered more useful ideas for embedding these insights as part of CPD.

Suitable for all educationalists, including teachers and school leaders.

Contributions include:

Professor Dylan Wiliam points out the importance of formative assessment as a means of enabling the teacher to make evidence-based decisions about each student’s needs.

Art Costa and Robert Garmston challenge the notion that feedback should be about giving praise.

Professor Bill Lucas argues that we must give students the opportunity and choice to accept or reject the feedback advice that we offer them.

Diana Laufenberg places an emphasis on the importance of making time to give detailed, face-to-face feedback against the assessment criteria to each individual student.

Paul Dix provides a detailed account of the use of student wristbands, on which they can record the useful feedback they have been given.

Taylor Mali makes a case for the significance of his own variation on feedback, which he refers to as ‘feedfront’ – giving clear instructions and setting clear goals before a task even begins.

Ron Berger advocates the importance of giving individual, descriptive feedback on specific aspects of student work or performance and of avoiding general, holistic statements such as ‘good work’.

Andy Griffith describes feedback as a two-way process and argues that its success is determined not only by the way feedback is given but also in the way it is received.

Barry Hymer argues that simple praise and reward only serve to keep the teacher in control, thereby robbing the student of self-efficacy.

Jackie Beere focuses on how best to encourage a positive response to feedback.

Mike Gershon illustrates the point that feedback is not a one-off response but a continuing process or dialogue.

Professor Mick Waters suggests inviting students to award points to teachers based on the teacher’s effectiveness in helping the student to learn.

Geoff Petty cites praise as one of the key factors for effective learning.

Shirley Clarke proposes that it is feedback from learners to teachers which constitutes the most significant and productive means of supporting and improving students’ learning experience.

Seth Godin suggests that feedback should offer an analysis rather than simply an opinion.

Phil Beadle argues that focused praise should be considered a very important element when giving feedback.

Teacher Development Trust – Next steps …

Click here to read the review of ‘Best of the Best: Feedback’ on Humanising Language Teaching.

Picture for author Leah Kirkman

Leah Kirkman

Leah Kirkman is co-author of the bestselling teaching guides Pimp Your Lesson! and Talk-Less Teaching, and is an experienced AST and trainer. Keeping the needs of both the busy teacher and the discerning learner at the heart of all her training, Leah works with teachers both across the UK and abroad developing outstanding teaching and learning.

Picture for author Isabella Wallace

Isabella Wallace

Isabella Wallace is co-author of the bestselling teaching guides Pimp Your Lesson! and Talk-Less Teaching, and has worked for many years as an AST, curriculum coordinator and governor. She is a consultant for and contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of Education and presents nationally and internationally on outstanding learning and teaching.

Listen in on Isabella's podcasts with Pivotal Education - click here to listen to Isabella on NQT issues and here discussing the pedagogy of talk-less teaching'.

Click here to view Isabella's Pinterest.

Click here to read Isabella  Wallace’s blog.


  1. Compiled by Isabella Wallace and Leah Kirkman, and featuring contributions from so many heavyweight educational luminaries, Feedback cannot but succeed and should be added to the library of any teacher or trainer.

    Numerous feedback models'­ - including praise and reward, -˜feedforward', formative assessment and peer assessment, as well as the significance of assessment as a basis for the teacher's vital decision-making role - are explored succinctly yet comprehensively, and are evaluated from a refreshing perspective in order to empower the teacher.

    Feedback also includes an array of practical teaching strategies and approaches which provide the means by which the teacher can acknowledge important aspects of effort, initiative, daring and persistence in the learner.
  2. Getting feedback right, as a teacher, is a skill that is refined over time. Certain methods really work with some pupils, whereas another group of pupils demand a different approach which works for them. Following on from their book about measuring Progress, Isabella Wallace and Leah Kirkman have, again, gathered a digestible collection of inspiring short essays from a broad range of discerning experts all focusing on offering practical strategies for offering feedback.

    Seth Godin, Mick Waters, Mike Gershon & DianaLaufenberg are some of the well-known proponents offering opinion, advice and strategies within the book, but Professor Dylan Wiliam's chapter on Formative assessment also reminds us that providing feedback to students helps them move their learning forward, rather than just being critical about their work - fundamentally improving the student, not just the work they've completed.

    This is a handy little book for teachers and schools to often refer to, and each short chapter could easily be included in a series of staff meetings or professional development sessions with the messages within providing stimulus for teaching reflection, improvements and refining of processes within a school

    Click here to read the review of -˜Best of the Best: Feedback' on UKEdChat.
  3. -˜Best of the Best' is an apt series title for a gem of a book that bridges that often neglected gap between theory and practical application. I fully expect feedback from my students that I am a better teacher as a result of reading it!

    The book provides a much needed one-stop shop for a brilliant range of leading educationalists to share their wisdom. For the busy teacher, this -˜lazy' approach is hard to beat!

    A cracking book bursting with accessible ideas on feedback from education's leading lights. What's more, the ideas are all rooted in research, wisdom and the often forgotten ingredient to make them classroom friendly: common sense.
  4. Feedback, in the Best of the Best series, makes a significant contribution to the literature on this essential aspect of teaching. The editors have collated succinct summaries from top thought leaders on the subject: from Dylan Wiliam, Ron Berger, Barry Hymer and Shirley Clarke to Seth Godin. Each chapter contains a distillation of their position on feedback and an exploration of the importance of thinking carefully about how we go about giving and receiving it. The practical suggestions are particularly useful as ways of consolidating high quality practice in the classroom. Above all, this book cuts through the nonsense of cheap praise and reaches to the heart of the matter. An essential read.
  5. Teaching is exciting if we make it exciting by providing children with the opportunity to meet their own destination. The ideas and concepts within this book allow for this, and the opening of minds and doors, to happen!
  6. An easily digestible and accessible guide to feedback, compiled from contributions by the world's leading experts in teaching and learning. The magic gold dust is the practical and realistic strategies, offered after each chapter, about how to implement these theories directly in the classroom. I challenge any teacher, whether at the start of their career or nearing the end, not to find innovative ways to change the way they deliver and receive feedback! 
  7. The future depends on people being capable of managing themselves; of taking ownership of their own challenges. To do that, they will need to understand their strengths and weaknesses with objectivity and constructive thinking. In many ways, how we structure and develop feedback for our students, in order to help them develop that level of autonomy, has never been more important. This book is a gold mine of thinking, ideas and practical solutions to help us. 
  8. This short guide offers a great mix of expert ideas, theoretical explanations and practical applications for the classroom. If you're looking for the most up-to-date advice on feedback, or if you want to read more widely around an important subject, then this is the book for you.

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