Feedback in the sense of a written or spoken response postdates the electrical meaning of the word by about 20 years. Like the sound created when a microphone is accidentally carried in front of a speaker, academic feedback can loop back and forth. It can also grow, as an observation broadens into dialogue.

The optimal aim of effective feedback is to enhance the capacity for self-reflection and self-correction on the part of the recipient. Whether given by the facilitator or the learner, the primary goal is the same: to help the recipient to focus honestly and positively on the opportunities for improvement and development in his or her own work. Sensitively delivered, feedback also offers reassurance and encouragement, and is an essential element in the building ...

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