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Developing effective oral feedback exchanges: supporting children’s writing

This UKLA funded study led by Dr Deborah Jones is informed by key principles of Assessment for Learning. Black & Wiliam state that formative assessment ‘involves… feedback between those taught and the teacher and… this is entailed in the quality of the interaction which is at the heart of dialogue’ (1998:16). Fundamental to this research is the hypothesis that one of the most effective forms of feedback on children’s writing, takes place through dialogue and reflection. This research builds on this and explores the nature of the interaction. Within the project school, staff employ dialogic teaching methods and are exploring ways in which cumulative dialogue can be embedded in their feedback exchanges.

Aims of the research

1) To identify the nature of oral feedback on writing in years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

2) To provide opportunities for both teachers and children to reflect on what constitutes effective oral feedback on compositional aspects of writing (printed text).

3) To develop high quality dialogue within feedback exchanges which scaffolds children’s critical thinking and fosters their independence as writers.

4) To produce a model of effective oral feedback and guidelines for practice.

The research is informed by AfL (and the feedback exchange within it) as a Vygotskian social construct where ‘learning is… a social and collaborative activity in which people develop their thinking together’ (James, 2009:57).

Video elicitation is being used to develop ‘a common language’ to discuss learning and teaching, ‘sharpening participants’ sensitivity’ (Lefstein and Snell, 2014: 177) and to make children’s and teachers’ thinking about learning explicit.


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Deborah Jones - Deborah is Reader in Education in the School of Sport and Education at Brunel University. Having gained a BA degree in Philosophy from the University of Wales, she went on to complete a PGCE in Urban studies at the college of St Mark & St John, Plymouth. Subsequently she undertook several roles within schools (both teaching and management) and was part of an EAL team. She fuelled her interest in the teaching and learning of literacy by undertaking an MA in Linguistics in Education. She then joined the Inspectorate and Advisory service for a London borough where she headed up the national LINC (Language in the National Curriculum) project. Following this she coordinated National Curriculum assessment for a Local Authority, developing policy and leading INSET for teachers and headteachers. During this time she undertook consultancy for several universities and became an assessor for the NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship).  Throughout her time at Brunel University she has undertaken a range of management and leadership roles including Equality Champion for the University and Director of Teaching and Learning within the Department. She has run the Doctor of Education programme and also established the BA programme in Hong Kong for teachers. Her doctorate focussed on gender in relation to the perceptions and experiences of male students within the early years of schooling. Subsequently research has explored the lived experiences of both female and male teachers and headteachers in the primary sector. She has a keen interest in oracy in education and was co-investigator on the ‘Enhancing Mathematical Learning through Talk’ project which explored subject knowledge and teaching expertise of KS1 teachers, through the collaborative study of spoken language and talk-in-interaction. More recently she has undertaken United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) funded research into the nature of interaction between teachers and children in KS2 and the development of high quality dialogue within feedback exchanges. Deborah is European Editor for the international journal Early Child Development and Care and has served on the National Primary Commitee for the National Association of Teachers of English (NATE).  As a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), British Educational Research Association (BERA)  and NAEYCTE she has given multiple research presentations in the UK and abroad.

Related Research Group(s)

Pedagogy, Policy and Professional Education

Pedagogy, Policy and Professional Education - Focusing on pedagogy, policy and professional education, including the education of teachers.


Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.


Project last modified 19/10/2021