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The Importance of Feedback

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					  FIELDWORK                                ISSUES

                                          The Importance of Feedback
                                                                          Donna M. Costa

                                                                                                                "So, how would )'011 d(~s<Tib('this Ireat-
                    ccdhack has heen identified as
                                                                                                                rnCilt se:,;sion'?").
                    one of the most clilical compo-                Students need feedback
                    nents of clinical supervision.l As                                                          i:iKcc'p fpedback timely; provide it as
                    supervisors, we provide feedback
                                                                     to acquire the skills
                                                                                                                soon as possible after t.he siluaUun.
                    to our students throughout the                   necessary to become
                                                                                                                ~ Link the fcedback to what each stu-
              fieldwork assignment., and they provide
              feedback to us at t.he end of the field-
                                                                      solid practitioners.                      dent want.s to Imfl1 ('.g.. "You said at
                                                                                                                the l)('ginning of fieldwork that ."lOll
              work. Hm\'ever, bcc<luSP of the many
                                                                                                                wanted to jIlcreas(-~~rour asscJtivcness
              meanings attributed to f(~edhack, there
                                                                                                                skills, so Jet's talk ahout ho\',' you set.
              are ofleIl anxicti(~s on tbe part of both      meeting that occurs betwccn the
                                                                                                                limits \\ith this mornlng's dient..").
              the fieldwork educat.or and t.he student       supervisor and student after a diem
              about giving and receiving feedback.           evaluation).                                       it  Provide feedback only if you actually
              Students will often ask for "construc-            There have heen rdat.ivdy          few          obseI\'cd the st.udent. Hela;\"ing second-
              tive criticism," yt't some supervisors         studies on feedback in the supeD;sion              haIHJ or thinihalHI information COlnes
              dread hming t.o sit dovm v..t!! them to
                                           i                 literat.ure, alld none that. I could find in       across as weak. It opens you up
              provide feedback on t.heir perfor-             t.he occupational therapy likraturc.               to being challengecl, and increases
              mance. 11any students sa~' that they           One case st.udy that is often cit.ed in            t.he chance that, the feedback \\111he
              did ]\ot receive suffkient feedback            the supcn1sioJllit,erat.ure was done by            (liscollnt.('(I.
              throughout. their fieldwork experience,        Friedlander, Siegel, and HrcnockG and
                                                                                                                .t: Use nonjudgnlPnta] language when
              and yet. their supervisors believed that.      described how few of a sUI)(:rvisor's
                                                                                                                givillg students f{-'edback; focus on
              they were providing feedback to their                   inc:lude fpcdback. Another
                                                                                                                ()lJjl'clive lJt'llavlural tenliS.
              students all of the time. It is worth                                    o
                                                             study reported that H89'!'1f supervisors
              exploring what is meant hy feedback,           of graduate student counselors admit-              !toGive students slwc:ific examples of
              and IU1der what conditions the use of          ted to 'Withholding feedback.';' Their             instances of their behavior, rather t.han
              feedback is most helpful.                      reasons for doing:,;o included anticipat.-         USil\g gCIlC'ralizations.
                  Feedback is broadly defined as any         ing a ncgativp reaction from thp super-
                                                             visee, and feeling that the feedback               ';1,Framp t.hp feedback as information
              information that, one person gives to
                                                             was t.oo personal.                                 about the st udents' performance or
              aJloUler about that person. III the con-
                                                                                                                hehavior, rat.her t.han a~ statenwnt.s
              text of fieldwork education, feedback is            \\'1Iat makes feedlJa(:k effective for
                                                                                                                ahout. their personalit.:v or judgments
              "information given 1,0indicate the level       fiehhvork student.s'? Thp fnllo",1J1g
                                                                                                                about. tlIPI1I as fI('ople.
              of performance that has bf'en ac:hie\'('d      st.rategies w:ilJhelp ensure that feecl-
              in perfonnance of (I task. Feedback can        back cllhallCl'S rheir lPclrning and is             ~ Don't. overload st.ndPJlt.s \\ith t.oo
              therefore be positive or negative              perceived as bdn~ helpful, rarher Lhan              much feedback; it. is bet h'r receiver! in
              dependillg on whether Ihe task was             plmitive.                                           small ;'chunks" thaI II1('y (:<11l reflect on
              completed \vcll or not" (p. 6:3).2 The                                                             ,ll1d disCllSS lah'r.
                                                             :: Est.ahlish a climate of 1rnst so fel'd-
              clinical supenisionliteraturc defines
                                                             hack is not vi('\\'ed as'isIIl.              '; Be pn'pan>d for variat.ioll ill
              feedback more broadJy as "infommtion
                                                                                                                 respol\ses; Hot all slu(knt.s \vill n..'ad ill
              that supervisors conununicate      to t.heir      Make il,dearto stlHlenlsat UI('!J('gin-
              supen'isees abollt asppcts of their

                                                             ning oft11c fieldwork ('xpprit'I1c{' that
                                                                                                                 UIP smlle    w,,~·
                                                                                                                                to similar f('pdback.

              skills, attitlKks, behmior, alld appear-       you \dl be giving t!1('In regular fpedba('k.        £.   l)St' sup]1ortiw I('dllliques   w]lcn
              ance t.hat may illtluem:e their perfor-                                 y
                                                             and tdl Ihem 110'.·\' ou will he ghing it           providing sll1<l('1Ils\\ith feedback to
              mance clielils or affect tilt'                                slHlnHaries, aftt:r Pilch
                                                             (f'.g .. \ia \\'cekl:,>'                            demo!lslratP thaI you arc inv('sh~d in
              supervisory r(~latiOllship" (p. ;~).:I         client. evaluation, etc.).                          hC'ipil1gtheI\l kam.
              Feedback in fidrhvork education can
                                                             ~ PrO\ido f('('dhack in a privatp s('\,liJlg        t!" WheIl ~rO\J hav(' to give a student.
              either he formal (sHch as usillg the
                                                             rather tllan in front of oll\('rs.                  IH'gativ(' f('('dback ahout pNfonnaIlce,
              Fieldwork PerformancE' Evaluationl or
              Student. Evaluation of Fieldwork               II Creat.e an (~lIvirolllHeJ\1t.hal ill\-it<'s
                                                                                                                 hdp Illfll () a goal or challenge that
              Experience:') or informal (stIch as a          seJf-aSS(>ssIIWJ1It'.g., startl)y askil1g,
                                                                               (                                 hc' or sill' want.s t,o work 011.

OTPRACTlCE*             1HEJ<11.2.(KI(,
                SEPTI .•.•
                                                                                                                                     :31    Encourage your students                      to ask for
                                                                                                                                     feedback and point out t.o them the many
                                                                                                                                     other venues for getting feedback (e,g.,
                                                                                                                                     fellow stu~leIlts. other professionals                          on the
         \\irdc,,]1)         lion rapine
                         "' ••             _cn.on.
                                                                                                                                     tranl, Cliell15).
         rnElnrc-rC'dfnrrrb"b    •• po'hmrd.:and
         illdu.,ri:al ••ppliulinn •. Wilhlh,F\B
         ,<>fI":I'",oo   r:an        '(0'."'0"
                                        ural.:a                                                                                             i(le
                                                                                                                                     • Pro .••. sllulent<; \\ith leaming acti\i-
         r •••'<>miud  r~"rl ill mom•.•h.
      \                                                                                                                              tips thai promote fC'flf..,(;tivcpractice and
         Th,   l_\11 _,-.I.-m       (:an he in :an,
                                                                                                                                     lead to self-asseSSItH'IIt.
         rc~1 " ••,Id .iluaHon. in Ur 0111' f Ih.
         din;c   .ell;n!::_ dud,,!: 'I:andardilcd
         Inlin;:u' ••hilr'art'·;n!:o ••••.
                                         ithu.ual                                                                                    D Folio\\' up with a student after prmid-
     Benefit:                                                  ••                                                                    ing corrc<:tivf! ff;'('(lback to see how he or
         laura,"        prodllrti.;h.      small•••.
         porl:ablr. :lnd ••
                          a,,. 10 U'C. Infrfl""'c'
                                                                                                                                     she has responded.
         rcliabili'l_ Objulinl,          :umrnI1
         prn!:.u.   and nlduu IIr ,rr,din                                                                                            • Use "sand\\iched"' feedback for st.udents
         .enler. CUSlomluhlc rll, ,-nur 'c"in~.
                                                                                                                                     who are very' SPIL"itive to ne~ativc feed-
                                                                                                                                     back-comment first on something the
                                                                                                                                     student did well, followed by the correc-
                                                                                                                                     tive feedhack, then end \\ith another posi-
                                                                                                                                     tive conunent about their performance.

                                                                                                                                         Many fieldwork supervisors are reluc-
                                                                                                                                     tant to give feedback because they don't
                                                                                                                                     want to seem critical or unsupportive of
                                                                                                                                     studcnts. However, students need feed-
                                                                                                                                     back to acquire the skills necessary to
                                                                                                                                     become solie! practitioners. If you follow
                                                                                                                                     the guidelines above, most students ""ill
                                                                                                                                     be grateful for t.he feedback, and you will
                                                For information     cirCle 58 on Reader Service Card                                 have made a valuable contrihution to the
                                                                                                                                     profession. _

                                 NEW AOTA Practice Guideline!                                                                        1. [i('marrl, ,I., & GoodYE'ar, R. (2()().,1).
                                                                                                                                          FUl1(famt>f!(ll/s         of dilli(':11 supervision.      Roston:
    New Practice Guideline helps practitioners effectively articulate occupational therapy's role to                                     Allyn & Bacon.
                                                                                                                                     2. HoSE', ~1., & BC'Sl D, (Eds.), (2005). Transforming
       prospective consumers, professional associates, payers, and referral senices and ensure
                                                                                                                                         prncticp through r/in;caJ education:
     appropriateness of care. Includes significant improvements such as expanded resources and                                            Prof('ssiOlI,11 supenision               and nJenroring. NE'w
                       key concepts from the                  Occupt21ilmal Therapy Practice Frameu:ork.                                  York: Chun ..hill L.i\inj!.Stone.
                                                                                                                                     :J. Iloffman, ~1., llill        c..     Ilolmt's, S., &: F'reita. •••G.

                                                        Adults With Neurodegenerative                                                     (200:':i). Supt'n.i..'>Or p<'1'SP€"'ti\·C' 011 the process
                                                                                                                                         and outcom •.•of gh'in~ t'asy, difficult. or no fced·
                                                                                                                                          back to SUP('",'i:sE'£'S.Joumal of CuurL.'if'ling

                  I' ,'~,,' •• ~~"
                             ,•• ••
                                                        Diseases: Occupational Therapy                                                    Psychology, ,54:1), :J--l:1
                                                                                                                                     -I.. o\,ffil"rieaI\ Occupational            Th('rapy Association.

                  Arluhs Vr,th                          Practice Guidelines                                                              (200"2). Fieldwork pl'rfonn:JJlce {,\71luation for
                                                                                                                                          tht> O<'Clll'atjonal therapy or (x'('upational                 rher·
                  tleurodegcneratrl"                                                                                                     lJPY a ..·>. .•• i,Sr3111 student. Bt,thesda, ~ID: Author_
                  O~OO\CS                               Susan]. Forwel/, PhD, OT(C), FCAOT                                           5. Amf'rican fkcupational Therapy Association.
                                                        An overview of the occupational            therapy process for                   (2000). 5ludt>nt t>\',11UiI(jon of fieldwork ('xperi-
                                                                                                                                         ('11('('. Rl'lrit'\'pd July 7. :W06, from http://w'WW,
                                                        people with ncurodcgenerative    diseases, including
                                                        multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and ALS.
                                                •       Summarizes l.'Vidence from the literature regarding
                                                                                                                                     f,. Fn'idland('r, Moo.Si(>gd, S., & Breno('k, K. (1989) .
                                                                                                                                         Paralll'i pfO(·('S.WS in cOllnseling and supen.ision:
                                                                                                                                         A ca."f' study. JOl;rnaJ of COlln.wling Psychology,
                                                        occupational therapy intervention specific (0 these
                                                                                                                                        J6. 1-10-157.
    Order #2209-P                                       clinical conditions.                                                         i. Ladany, S., &. )Mim'off,              D. (199IJ). The nature of
                                                                                                                                           {'ounst'ior   su[wI'\isor       non-tlbdoslJre.   CouIISelor
    $29 AOTAMembers                                     See a completc list of AOTA Practice                                               Education      ,111(/   Supt'n'ision,     :18, 161-176.
    $42 Nonmembers                                      Guidelines and learn more about
                                                        NEW AOTA Evidence Collections
                                                        at   www.aota.arg.                             p~                            aonna M. Costa, ~IS. OTHIl.. is the interim p~

    AnTI\.                                                                                             The Amencan
                                                                                                                                     din"'<'tor at Siony Brook Cniwr,jiry                in 510ny Brook,
                                                                                                                                     ~t'W York, and tilt' 3.C<llll'mit' fiddwork (~()(}rdinator

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