Being a critical friend

Research projects will be realized unknowingly by observing this cycle planning, rewriting, reviewing and doing. Throughout this cycle you often solicit advice from others. Think of a time when a peer asked your opinion about something he or she said or did. Did you like or approve of what was said or done? Giving constructive feedback is easy when you like or approve of what was said or done. However, it can be difficult to be a critical friend when you do not like or approve of what was said or done. It is important to know how to give feedback without hurting another person's feelings.

As a critical friend, the feedback that you give must be said in way that is helpful and kind. Before giving feedback, think about the following questions:

  • Did I listen well?
  • Do I understand all the ideas and information?
  • Are there any questions I should ask before giving feedback?
  • What specific things did I like?
  • How might the ideas or product be improved? Should anything be changed or added?
  • How can I make my comments soud positive?

While giving feedback, you should start by saying what you like about someone's work. You might begin your statements in the following manner:

  • I like how you...
  • You did a really great job with...
  • The thing that really impressed me was...

After you say what you like about someone's work, you can nicely say what you do not like. The best way is to offer specific sugestions and about how the ideas or product could be improved. You might consider starting your statements with:

  • I'm not sure I understant...
  • I see what you're trying to do, but it might be better if,,,
  • I would have liked it better if you had...

Remember that your opinon is only one opinion, and that others may have different opinions. Most importantly, be kind when giving feedback. Think about how you would feel if you were hearing that feedback about your ideas or product. Consider the following:

  • Could your tone of voice or choice of words make a difference?
  • Why is it important to say what you like about someone's work before saying what you think could be improved?
  • What other suggestions do you have for being a critical friend?

Adapted from intelteach.


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