A coworker referred her neighbor to my swim class and I learned something from the experience that I should already know, but apparently I had been slacking on.
If someone does something correctly and they do not need corrective feedback, they still need feedback.
The neighbor, as it turns out, is an awesome swimmer.
In a class of 12 swimmers, it is impossible to have eyes on everyone at all times, so generally, the ones that need the most help are going to get the help first, and the ones who can swim well are given more trust to take direction and practice the skill.
My coworker reported that her neighbor didn’t think she was doing very well in my class, as I had not given her much feedback.
The light bulb went on. Awesome swimmers don’t know they are awesome swimmers unless you tell them they are awesome and then tell them EXACTLY why they are awesome.
Ever since that learning experience, I have been practicing my feedback skills with the highly skilled individuals. One technique I have found very helpful is to have them demonstrate a skill for their peers. It is such an ego boost for the student to be the role model for the group.
Assessment and evaluation is a continuous process. It does not just happen at finite points in the semester. It is a process that is woven throughout the length of the course, and every student should feel the drive to improve in relation to their own level of success.
So, in our efforts to help the beginners, we also must boost the experts.