In this study, we further elaborate on the notion of teacher feedback literacy by drawing on sociocultural theories of human learning and development (Linell, 2009; Vygotsky, 1978). We propose that feedback literacy is a social practice rather than an inherent trait or skill of a teacher. Feedback literacy is enacted, and further developed, through interactions and dialogues between teachers and their environments. Based on this assumption, we investigate how university teachers enact feedback literacy in interaction with other colleagues during peer mentoring (PM) meetings.
During PM, teachers meet regularly to discuss difficult cases from their teaching and supervision work and peer-mentor each other. Drawing on video observations from a sequence of peer mentoring meetings, we examine how teachers jointly enact feedback literacy by reflecting on past and prospective feedback dialogues, and the cognitive and social-affective support they are providing to their students.
The findings indicate that teachers discuss a wide array of issues related to their feedback practices during PM. The topics include challenges of helping students to understand feedback comments, managing students’ emotions related to critical feedback and making students aware of their strengths and weaknesses. An illustrative example is a teacher sharing her experiences of a student struggling with conducting qualitative data analyses. Together with her colleagues, the teacher defines the problem clearer and outlines an action plan to address the problem. This empirical illustration contributes to our understanding that teacher feedback literacy is a joint enactment of teachers making sense of their students’ challenges with feedback and of how they may support their students’ understanding and use of feedback in the future. In addition, our study further advances the empirical insights into typical challenges teachers face related to their feedback practices and what it means concretely to act and reflect in a feedback-literate way.