What is feedback?

What is feedback?

In our study, we learned that feedback helps writers improve, whether it comes from an instructor, a peer, or a trusted friend.

What is feedback?

Author Anne Gere explains that feedback means showing other people our writing and thinking about what we can learn from their comments. When we engage with others’ feedback, we become aware of how different audiences can understand our writing.

What is self-sponsored feedback?

Self-Sponsored Feedback: Writers can get feedback outside of school as, a self-sponsored activity.

It’s important to reach out to peers as well as to instructors, or those who are more knowledgeable, for feedback. As discussed in Chapter 2,

[A] connection emerged between authenticity and authority so that an authentic audience of peers held a non-hierarchical authority, one founded on collaboration rather than competition, transaction, or control. This view of writing echoes what expert writers hope for when they imagine receiving feedback from their audience of peers: when an audience is not only a willing consumer of text but also an active responder, authority and audience are mutually constructed.


Peers can offer feedback in ways that are truly collaborative. Writers who consistently show their work only to those who grade or evaluate their writing, may want to find a peer.

Check out Charlotte’s perspective on self-sponsored feedback:

Well, I do use peer editing as a huge thing I don’t really enjoy using peer editing in class … I like using people who I know I can trust as far as peer editing, which usually happens to be my mom a lot, or my friends that work at the Daily [university newspaper] or past teachers.


Peers in both school-sponsored and self-sponsored settings can provide useful feedback. Writing centers offer another way to get feedback. Writers can improve the quality of feedback by explaining where they need help.

What is critical engagement?

Critical Engagement: Where feedback comes from doesn’t matter as much as how the writer uses it:

Ultimately, the findings presented in this chapter suggest that moments of accepting and resisting are easy to spot, but that they are not what matters most in terms of development. Nor is implementation of instructor feedback, in and of itself, the most reliable indicator of student growth in writing. Instead, students’ movement toward more critical engagement with instructor feedback matters more than changes in affect or in action. Students who described moments of critical engagement with instructor feedback—using that feedback to develop a broader understanding of their audience or purpose, evaluating or analyzing that feedback, or using it as a springboard for reflecting on their writing—also indicated development in terms of rhetorical sophistication and agency. Students who did not critically engage with feedback, however, at times suggested they learned nothing from this pedagogical tool. Consequently, more than anything else, this chapter suggests that one powerful way to promote students’ development as writers is to teach them to seek out and critically engage with instructor feedback.


Where do people go for feedback?

Friends and colleagues14
Writing groups2

People who responded to our survey said they reach out to peers, instructors, colleagues, editors, mentors, classmates, siblings, parents, and friends to read their writing.

We can engage in feedback in a variety of situations and with a variety of people, such as instructors, fellow students, and other people we trust.