Feedback Help

31 May

Greetings Mouthy’s – In the session last Friday we took 20 minutes out to look at how to give feedback and this is what we got:

First off – when posting your poem on the blog, you can help others give feedback to you by highlighting key areas you want commenting on.

Secondly – when giving feedback yourself, here are 4 things to consider:
Be Honest
If people ask for feedback then that’s what they want and are ready to hear it. Don’t worry about being mean by commenting on someone else’s piece because they want to hear what you think.
Be Sensitive
Taking into account the above point, it’s always worth noting when giving feedback that both the poet and poem may be at different stages in the processes and need different types of feedback e.g. telling someone to try an entirely new form won’t be useful if they’ve just submitted their final edit.
Give Feedback
This may seem obvious but it means avoid just mentioning what you love about it because those aren’t the bits that need working on. This doesn’t mean dropping the compliments all together but involves going on to suggest improvements for other areas as well.
Be Specific
It’s hard to use feedback that is too broad and vague because you don’t know where to start. Where possible, it could be useful to mention exact quotes in feedback and also expanding/elaborating on what you say makes it easier to understand, as well as making sure the feedback you’re giving is constructive enough to work with.

A little tip on how to structure feedback is Debris’ method of Love, Questions, Suggestions:
Love – Write down anything that you love about the piece
Questions – Write down any questions you have about the piece, such as “what are you trying to convey with this line?”. It allows you to get a better understanding of what the poem means to the poet and also gets the poet thinking.
Suggestions – Write down any suggestions you have about the piece, remembering you aren’t telling someone how they have to change it but instead offering them options and new points of view. It’s more supportive to offer suggestions rather than tell someone what to change e.g. phrasing things like “You could try” instead of “I think you should”

It can be a bit daunting sitting down and trying to give feedback to every poet at once, but it’s ok if you only have time to give detailed feedback to a few people, because every response helps. Also, if you try to give feedback to people who haven’t got any yet it’s more likely that everyone will get some. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask people directly if you want feedback (and if you’ve got too much on your plate don’t be afraid to say no if necessary) – Feedback is a dialogue so it’s good to have a conversation to develop understanding with someone that can be hard to grasp with one comment. Any questions ask me (Kat) or Chris 🙂

Happy Feedbacking guys!


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