PE Challenge 4 – Individual Verbal Feedback

PE Challenge 4

by @ImSporticus

Over the next 8 weeks, every weekend, I will offer you a challenge for the following week. These challenges will come from other teachers, researchers, academics and coaches and take on different formats. You can try one, try the ones you like, or try them all. The hope is that it will stimulate thought about your practice, your pupils understanding and their learning and potentially change them for the better.

PE Challenge No. 4: Individual Verbal Feedback.

The challenge this week is to give verbal feedback to every individual in the class. First however why don’t you try to find out how much individual verbal feedback you give as a comparison.

The last two weeks was observation fortnight at my school, where all teachers were encouraged to get out of their classes and observe another teacher teach. A colleague from the English Department and I joined up to focus on our delivery of verbal feedback in A2 English Literature and Year 10 Basketball respectively.

We observed two classes each over the course of the fortnight. In the first lessons our main aim was to record the individual interactions we had we students and to see how many of those interactions were praise, sanctions or feedback. There was a simple exit ticket that students took at the end of the lesson, whether they felt they had made progress or not in the lesson.

The results were quite interesting:

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It opened up discussions about what type of teachers we are, whether we change our approaches for different age groups and our own misconceptions of what we do in the classroom.However the most important was that although we thought we gave lots of individual feedback, when we actually didn’t. My colleague in the English Department gave whole class feedback over 10 times as much as individual feedback.


The EEF shows that feedback can have a positive impact on pupil learning and progress. Feedback redirects or refocuses either the the learner’s actions to achieve a goal, by aligning effort and activity with an outcome.

Whilst whole class feedback is great at picking up common misconceptions or errors, we both felt that some students didn’t feel this information was being directed at them. It can be quite easy to zone out in these moments of whole class feedback.

We both assisted each other in designing a lesson to allow students to practice or work and to have time to give feedback. The feedback given must be related to clear, specific and challenging goals for the recipient.

The issue I had was that feedback, if done poorly, can have a negative impact on student learning and motivation. Creating an environment of trust and high expectations is needed to counter that. I used something called Wise Feedback and ensured I started every piece of feedback given with this simple phrase ‘I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.’ I then proceeded to give them verbal ‘Medals’ and ‘Mission’, linked to the learning outcomes that I had planned for. This is a system offered by Black and Wiliam, and I thought this would be a suitable approach as it was a very weak ability group in Physical Education. I had my clipboard with me and a paper sheet of class names. I ticked off when I gave them feedback and made them notes of the feedback I have to them. I tried to observe whether students had achieved my ‘missions’ and made a note if I thought they had.

This process allowed me to tailor my feedback and targets to the individual student. It opened up dialogue that I don’t often have due to my whole class delivery of feedback. It was time consuming and at times I felt like I was rushing just to get things done. It is clear that this can’t be a one off lesson, but a full time approach, if it was to have any real impact.

The results of our second observed lesson were:

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So why don’t you give this a try. If you teach the same class in a week why don’t you record (or use a non doer) how many times you give individual feedback in the class and to how many of the class. Then look to design a following lesson that allows you to give individual feedback with targets to every child. Do you have to change your teaching approach? Do you think students get more out of the lesson? Is it possible to do this every lesson and if not, why not?


If you decide to accept the challenge, I would love you to share your thoughts. Did it help your teaching or your pupils learning in anyway? What were the outcomes of the challenge, both positive and negative?

You can either post your response to this blog.

Or on Twitter direct to me at @imsporticus and @PE4Learning

Or on Twitter with the hashtag #pechallenge and I shall collate them.

Previous PE Challenges: – Challenge No. 1  Challenge No. 2    Challenge No. 3

Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you.


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Written by ImSporticus
On the first day in my current school I sat down next to a colleague and began to introduce myself as the new Teacher of PE. She kindly smiled at me, pointed to the opposite side of the common room, and said sweetly ‘I know. The shallow side is over there.’ I’ve been drowning ever since.

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