Positive feedback and encouragement at the right moments can be powerful motivators in helping your students learn. Check out one new TA’s experience with positive feedback below.

Not that I did not already know it, but positive feedback does wonders! Students responded to encouragement and trust by trying harder, engaging and writing better papers.

For instance, the case of a young serious man who always sat in the first row of the classroom’s desks and seemed very shy: he turned in good weekly response papers. I always started my feedback with encouragements acknowledging his critical engagement, and it was not long until he approached me after class wishing to discuss his plans for his final paper. We discussed his ideas at length, which he integrated in a great research paper. I felt happy to receive an email from him at the end of the winter semester, mentioning how the positive feedback made him trust his writing, a first in his academic life.

One other example of a ‘feedback ‘success story during my first TA assignment at ASU is that of one student whose weekly write-ups repeatedly posed very engaging questions. Again, she was not a student that participated in the class conversation, but I could see from her writing that her level of engagement with the class material was high. This time I approached her after class, recognizing her effort. She responded to my positive feedback, and during the semester asked my input not only on the term paper, on which she did an outstanding job, but also on continuing her academic life through applying to Graduate School.

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