Public feedback - but personal feedforward?


  • John Cowan Edinburgh Napier University
  • YiChing Jean Chiu Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages



Confucian Heritage Culture, feedback, feedforward, strengths, weaknesses, public, private


People can learn by considering and understanding examples. With assistance, students should see and appreciate in examples strengths on which they can build, and weaknesses which they should minimise. So feedback and feedforward to students can usefully dwell on both types of example, especially if drawn from individual studentsââ¬â¢ work. But this can generate problems for learners from a Confucian Heritage Culture (CHC). The writers encountered acute sensitivity in Taiwan to their judgements and responses to weak discussion board postings. Their gently constructive feedforward was regarded by some CHC students as stern and hurtful criticism, Such students often withdrew from participation in class activity. So the writers differentiated in their responding to weak and strong postings, When individuals had made weak postings, the writers opted for personal and private feedback leading naturally to constructive feedforward, For better postings, they mainly provided positive feedback with reasons for their judgements, and summarised this to the class - making generic points about strengths. They now favour using different approaches to communicating and balancing feedback and feedforward, depending on the standard of work being judged, They suggest this might also be a useful practice when tutoring solely in the West.

Author Biographies

John Cowan, Edinburgh Napier University

Emeritus Professor of Learning Development, UKOU; Associate, Edinburgh Institute for Learning and Management Practice

YiChing Jean Chiu, Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages

English Senior Lecturer




How to Cite

Cowan, J. and Chiu, Y. J. (2012) “Public feedback - but personal feedforward?”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (4). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.v0i4.144.



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