Critical and constructive feedback

Brief description

This is an exercise which helps the students to discuss and think carefully about their academic assignments.

Motivation for the exercise and required outcome

The purpose of the exercise is to improve the ability of the students to give and receive constructive criticism about academic projects and assignments, enabling them to practise the art of dialogue regarding the writing of such assignments.

Performing the exercise

  • The students must write a synopsis of 1-2 pages before doing the exercise.
  • Divide the students into groups of 3-4.
  • The students are given 15 minutes by turns to present and discuss their synopses with the other group members. You may like to hand out questions to inspire the students in their presentations and discussions.
  • Take a break when all the group members have presented their synopses.
  • The students should then form new groups in which they repeat the exercise – but this time they must focus on the weaknesses and challenges they have encountered in their projects in the previous round of discussions. Each student gets 10 minutes.
  • When the time is up, you can gather the class for a general discussion of the challenges that have been detected in the synopses. This is also when you can go through any questions regarding formal requirements.

Variation options 

  • You might consider whether the students should be allowed to form their groups themselves, or whether it makes sense for you to form the groups in advance based on didactic considerations.
  • You might also consider whether to give the students handouts with inspiration for discussion questions before the exercise – or whether you want the process to be more free.
  • You might also consider whether to do a brainwalk before asking the students to prepare their synopses. See how to do a brainwalk exercise here.

The content of this page was developed by Stine Rank Langhøj, former employee at Center for Teaching development and Digital Media.

You will need:

  • You can download handouts with questions for inspiration here and hand out the following material to the students:

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