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Feedback Matters: Examining the Use of Feedback Strategies by Chinese Preschool Teachers in Science Lessons

Abstract

This investigation of how Chinese preschool teachers use feedback strategies as part of Initiation, Response, and Feedback (IRF) sequences during whole-group science lessons can inform current practice. Using quantitative and qualitative data analysis, this study examined 28 videos of preschool science lessons from three regions representing above average, average, and below average levels of economic development in a southern province of China. Videotape transcriptions were coded by two trained raters using the 12 feedback strategies, offered within Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) and categorized as either Affirmation/Correction-Direct Instruction (ACDI) or Extension by Responsive Questioning (EbRQ). Among the ACDI strategies, Specific feedback was most frequently used. In the EbRQ category, Follow-up questions, Back-and-forth exchanges, and Teacher persistence were the most frequently used strategies, with Asking students to explain thinking and Back-and-forth exchanges shown to elicit higher-order thinking more frequently. Further feedback analysis revealed teachers’ lack of contextual authenticity and insufficient leveraging of prior experiences, or of science content knowledge. Also, weak questioning skills (i.e., open-ended questions and/or higher-order questions) were related to teachers’ ineffective use of feedback strategies. The results suggested that feedback matters and that teachers need to pay more attention to feedback strategies. Conclusions and critical pedagogical implications related to providing feedback for improving preschool teacher education and professional development are also offered.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the (1) University of Macau Multi-Year Research Grant [No. MYRG20l8-00024-FED]; (2) Macao Tong Chai Charity Association Grant [No. EF013/FED-HBY/2018/ MTCCA]; (3) Humanities and Social Science Research Youth Fund Project of the Ministry of Education "Research on the Construction and Application of Preschool Education Quality Evaluation System Based on Teacher–Child Interaction" [No.18YJC880131]. The authors of this paper deeply appreciate the support.

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Hu, B.Y., Guan, L., Li, Y. et al. Feedback Matters: Examining the Use of Feedback Strategies by Chinese Preschool Teachers in Science Lessons. Early Childhood Educ J (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-021-01265-3

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Keywords

  • Feedback strategies
  • Science teaching
  • Preschool
  • CLASS
  • Early childhood education
  • IRF
  • China