Games Controls for Feedback


As we prepare to begin a new academic year our department focus will be on ensuring our feedback supports our focus of aspiring to excellence. As I explain in my earlier blogs this is rooted in developing a growth mindset in our students. As a result I have created a system of feedback based on games control icons, or for those of you as old as me, the tape cassette buttons! This fits with the language of our department which includes “failing forwards” and “beyond excellence”.


How it will work

When a student has done a piece of work that a teacher is giving feedback on the teacher will place a sticker below the piece of work.

The teacher will then draw an arrow(s) from appropriate icon(s) and provide the feedback. This will look rather like a brainstorm.

Or a teacher can place a sticker under a piece of student work and the student can be asked to annotate specific symbols during DIRT time.

What each icon represents

Untitled What the student needs to do in the next piece of work in order to ‘level up’.
rewind What the student needs to go back and do to this piece of work in order to improve it.
p Something for a student to consider and respond to – may be in terms of effort or perhaps an alternative view to the one contained in the work.
s Stop and ‘hear’ praise about the effort in this piece of work. For example “Your hard work on developing your essay structure has helped make this essay balanced and clear, well done”
pl Requiring the students to raise new questions about the topic or to create suggestions as to how they would approach the work differently if they were asked to do it again.

The rationale behind this is to;

1. create a visual association with the feedback content
2. reduce any negative perceptions associated with feedback
3. help staff and students focus on process in praise & feedback
4. develop dialogue in feedback

I envisage the students receiving the type of feedback as shown in the example below;

feedback sample

We shall be trialling this beginning in September in conjunction with existing school policies on marking. Examples and reflections on this will follow in a blog next half term.


About Learning to Teach Lorraine Abbott

Deputy Headteacher in a Surrey School Author for Hodder Education
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