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Using Models, Critique, and Feedback in Remote Learning

Part of the Sharing Learning Across Distance Collection

We believe that right now, students need to share their learning to support ritual and connection, academic and character growth, and to reclaim agency in a time they may feel powerless.

Models, critique, and descriptive feedback are part of our student-engaged assessment system. Analyzing a model to generate criteria, engaging in a critique session to get a collective sense of how those criteria apply, and giving and getting descriptive feedback aligned to those criteria are ways that students understand and share what they've learned. 

We believe these practices are still supportive to students, even as the content may change—students may be engaging in a socratic seminar about the disruptions caused by COVID-19, or creating their own TikTok dance model for their Crew, or teachers may need a new model for a revised passage process—and the processes will certainly change. Below we offer some considerations and tools for adapting each for use during school closure. 

Models: For synchronous or asynchronous virtual learning where those modes are possible for all students, digital models in multiple formats abound. For students learning remotely without access to technology, consider offering a printable model for any longer-term assignment. 

Critique and Feedback:  Many of the discussion tools named by our colleagues at NYC Outward Bound Schools can be used for critique and feedback:

Using protocols for feedback that students may be familiar with, like "Praise, Question, Suggestion" can ground them in what they already know, and remind them of what it feels like to give and get kind, specific, and helpful feedback, whether it's on a letter to an elected official or a design to paint on a rock. If students are learning without access to technology, protocols can happen with a teacher over the phone, with someone in their home, or even with peers (over time, and mediated by the teacher) if there is a system for dropping off and picking up work. 

Norms for critique and feedback are especially useful for online spaces, when the social pressure to be an effective and ethical contributor to the community is decreased and students may not get the immediate information about their impact of their critique that comes with body language and facial expression. If you've already developed norms for virtual learning (see here for an example), make sure they speak to how the group offers feedback, and/or invite students to name what they need from their peers and the teacher. 


We are learning alongside you about what sharing learning across distance looks like.  We would like to continue to build these Collections as our collective efforts evolve. We welcome your contributions: anything you have created to support students during this time is something someone else might learn from. Use this form or email Sarah Norris at


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EL Education

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