Providing Student Feedback

Providing regular feedback to the student regarding his or her work with you is the most powerful teaching tool you have. It is also the area most commonly cited as lacking when students and residents evaluate medical faculty.

Quite simply, feedback is the sharing of information about the student's performance. Positive feedback serves to sustain behavior that is appropriate and effective. Negative or corrective feedback serves to change behavior that is inappropriate or ineffective. Thus, the student should receive a mixture of positive and corrective feedback. The feedback should be specific enough that the student understands which behaviors are appropriate and which ones need to be changed. General comments such as "you're doing a really super job!" may be pleasant to give, but do little in the way of teaching. Feedback is most meaningful when it is based on solid data obtained while observing or interacting with the student.

This teaching skill quickly becomes easier with deliberate practice. An experienced preceptor who has worked on developing this skill can incorporate feedback comfortably and quickly into regular interactions with a student.


Feedback is giving specific information about a person's current behavior in order to help him/her either continue the behavior or modify the behavior.


Timing and Setting

Characteristics of Effective Feedback

Guidelines for Giving Constructive Feedback

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