Gemma Dawson - The Feedback Frontier

Gemma Dawson - The Feedback Frontier


We all know the benefits of great feedback.  Right? Better learning! Faster learning! And have you seen Austin and that butterfly ??  You may even have once been told, like me, that feedback is the magic pill in the teacher’s toolbox, with lost weekends and evenings just a small price to pay for all that learning.


This session is for you if you’ve ever wondered why feedback so often doesn’t deliver on its promises, or asked yourself why that marking pile never seems to get any smaller.  We’ll look at what research can tell us about the principles behind effective, efficient feedback.  Come along if you’d like to talk about how we can supercharge feedback to put students back in charge of their learning, and you back in charge of your time.

Session Audience:

Middle school and High school

Session Goals:

Participants will come away with a greater sense of the value of their time as teachers, and a toolbox of concrete, usable models that can make feedback more efficient and – ultimately – much more effective.

Session Outcomes:

Explore the principles behind effective feedback: how does it work, and why does it fail?
Develop some of the practices of effective feedback: leave with a toolbox models and strategies to use with classes next week.
Discuss how we can put people at the centre of our feedback practices, initiating transformative conversations with learners and our colleagues.

Presenter Bio:

Gemma has been an IBDP teacher since 2006, teaching in the UK, Switzerland, and Singapore.  As a high school English teacher, Gemma is well acquainted with the never-ending marking pile: the Sunday evenings spent writing detailed feedback, only to have students register a grade before pushing the paper aside.  Always believing in the power of thoughtful written comments, Gemma attacked the marking pile with the conviction that the only thing better than feedback was more feedback.  Why then did the impact on learning not seem to justify all those hours spend marking? Why did learners seem to become more, not less, reliant on teacher direction?

Reading Daisy’s Christodoulou’s work on the misapplication of assessment for learning in so many schools prompted Gemma to completely rethink her approach to assessment, and so a passion for feedback was discovered!  Since then Gemma has led her department in re-evaluating feedback practices, creating resources for learners and their parents to understand the principles of effective feedback in all its different guises. Gemma is part of a working group looking at whole-school concept-based assessment and feedback at UWCSEA East (Singapore).