The conceptualisation and practice of feedback in health professional education is transitioning from a model of the expert delivering judgement of the student’s workplace performance, to a process of co-construction between student and educator. This requires students to understand the purpose of feedback, and have the skills and opportunities required to utilise feedback. Defined as feedback literacy, these capabilities are import for students to develop such that they can be successful in using feedback both within and beyond settings for learning. What is not yet clear is how feedback literacy can be developed, particularly in the clinical environment.
Our study explored the impact of an educational intervention that aimed to develop the feedback literacy of occupational therapy and physiotherapy students through near peer mentoring during a clinical placement. Data sources were post-placement educator (n=12) and student (n=23) interviews, and senior students’ (n=10) ‘think-aloud’ interviews based on recorded feedback conversations. Data was analysed through the theoretical lens of practice architectures (Edwards-Groves & Kemmis, 2016), enabling a focus on enactments of feedback in relation to developing feedback literacy.
Findings & Discussion
Feedback conversations occurred within the context of the senior-junior student relationship. Two dominant practices characterised the feedback: (i) creating a comfortable learning environment in which to engage in the feedback process, including being aware of and accommodating junior students’ emotional response, and (ii) ensuring feedback for learning, including pitching this in a way that junior students could understand.
The ways in which senior students facilitated feedback conversations with junior students included elements of their own educators’ practices which they then modified to suit their near-peer mentor role. While much of the literature has focused on the development of educators, this research suggests that developing students’ feedback literacy through near-peer mentoring can support students to become educators of the future.