Teacher working with student

Provide feedback on learning & behaviour

teaching practice

For student year

Early years

Helps students to

  • respond positively
  • remain on-task for longer
  • feel valued
  • Helps teachers to

  • facilitate learning
  • Summary

    Instructional feedback is encouraging information that you give students directly in relation to their on-task performance, learning or behaviour.

    In this practice, you will read about why feedback is so important and will revisit how to make it:

    • meaningful
    • motivating
    • constructive

    Preparing to teach

    The value of feedback

    Feedback has a positive impact on a students

    • attitude
    • engagement
    • motivation
    • behaviour
    • learning
    • achievement

    Effective feedback provides the student with information on:

    • where they are going (their goal)
    • how they are going
    • where to go next.

    By making sure that you and your students have a shared understanding of the intended learning, the feedback you give the student will be meaningful.

    Sources of feedback


    One source of feedback is the teacher being close to (‘in the proximity of’) students. Proximity communicates that the teacher is:

    • interested
    • caring
    • involved in their learning.

    A second source is feedback on student achievementactions, or effort (‘instructional feedback’). By acknowledging positive student behaviours you provide feedback that the behaviour is desired and increase the likelihood of it occurring again.

    • Know and take into account the abilities, characteristics, and preferences of each student. This will make your feedback personalised and positive.
    • Identify one aspect of the task or behaviour that the student has done well, and one that could be done better or differently.
    • Pair feedback with a reinforcer such as a high-five, handshake, personal message or token.
    Before you start
    • Reflect on and review your instructional and feedback procedures, together with communication/interaction styles.
    • Develop and plan responsive and flexible feedback procedures appropriate to each lesson/topic that
      • is more frequent 
      • provides highly specific guidance
      • provides specific feedback
      • provides specific rewards.
    • Tokens can be used to motivate students during less-preferred tasks and activities.

    Prior to the lesson choose, prepare and put-in-place supporting visual resources such as

    • positively-worded classroom rules
    • cumulative reward systems 
    • written instructional sequence / lesson plan formats

    It works better if:

    • Visual supports such as positive behaviour rules, cumulative reward systems schedules, and lesson plans are in place and used as reference points for guidance and feedback.
    • You focus on specific outcomes and expectation. Avoid cliched “good boy/girl, good job” style feedback. 
    • You give feedback that is positive, immediate, enthusiastic, and varied. 
    • You accompany it with highly motivating reinforcers/rewards.

    It doesn’t work if:

    • There are no visual behaviour rules or visual learning supports in place.
    • Learning-based behaviour expectations are inconsistent.
    • Feedback is not linked to the immediate task.
    • Feedback focuses only on errors, offers no solutions; is negative or unvaried.
    • Reward systems are unmotivating or are used to deduct points /rewards previously earned.

    In the classroom

    Step 1. At the start

    Refer to the supporting visual resources.

    Make the intended learning clear and explicit. Remember it might be:

    • performance
    • learning 
    • behaviour

    Proactively and explicitly explain the behaviour expectations with reference to visual rules. For example, “Its quiet time for today’s reading” or “Our number work today is a partner time activity so soft voices are OK”.

    Use tokens during less-preferred tasks and activities.

    Step 2. During

    Consistently refer to the visual instructional sequence/ lesson plan throughout the activity.

    Actively monitor student progress during the activity.

    Observe for examples of good performance, learning or behaviour and provide students with positive and varied feedback that is immediate, logically linked to the task, and to productive behaviour.

    When you observe examples of performance, learning, or behaviour which could be improved, start by stating what the student did well and moving to what could be done better or differently next time. Provide positive suggestions for improvement in terms of task expectations or learning-based behaviour. Scaffold task performance if necessary.

    Positively review and summarise students’ performance, emphasising successes, suggesting improvements for 'next time', and allocating motivating rewards via the visual system.

    Practice toolkit

    Practice implementation planner template

    We know that in the busyness of teaching it is not always easy to keep track of what is working and what is not. So, we have created this template for you to record and reflect on what you are doing to help you create a more inclusive classroom. The implementation planner contains:

    • Guidance around goal setting
    • Reflection section (What worked, didn’t work and what to change and next steps.)
    • Prompting questions

    Implementation planner template

    Implementation planner with examples

    Set your professional learning goal for:

    Provide feedback on learning & behaviour
    You can set and save your goal for inclusive practices using inclusionED. Saved goals will appear in your profile. Here you can access, refine and review your goal easily.

    Benefits of goal setting

    Setting, working towards, and reflecting on goals helps you grow professionally and improve your practice. You can access AITSL learning resources for teachers to learn more about:
    How to set goals
    The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership recommends using the SMART matrix to frame your goal setting.

    SMART goals refers to goals that are:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant
    • Time-phased
    Read more about Improving teaching practices.


    Example visual support: Expected behaviours

    Example visual support: Unexpected behaviours

    Example visual support: Volume

    Provide feedback on learning & behaviour - Practice brief

    Further reading

    Materials Informing Practice

    Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning [CSEFEL]. (2013). Inventory of practice for supporting social-emotional competence. http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/modules/module1/handout4.pdf

    Copple, C., & Bredekamp, S. (2009). Developmentally Appropriate Practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Washington, DC.: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

    Division for Early Childhood [DEC]. (2014). DEC Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education 2014. http://www.dec-sped.org/recommendedpractices

    Griffith University LE: An Idea for Effective Feedback for students with Autismhttps://prezi.com/ynabe47ak1qt/an-idea-for-effective-feedback-for-students-with-autism/

    Related Practices

    This practice is from the core research project