The crucial role of feedback in STEM learning and emotional intelligence

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Throughout the STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – learning environment, feedback holds so much more importance that just a response.

Feedback it’s a powerful tool that can fuel growth, hone critical thinking skills, and shape the foundation for future success. So what is the significance of feedback? Read on for more about why it’s essential to teach children the art of giving and receiving feedback with emotional intelligence from an early age.

The power of constructive critique in STEM

1. Iterative learning – STEM disciplines thrive on iterative processes, where constant refinement leads to improvement. Feedback is the driving force behind this iterative learning, allowing students to analyse their work, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments.

2. Encourages problem-solving skills – constructive feedback stimulates problem-solving skills by challenging students to think critically about their approach. It fosters resilience, encouraging them to view setbacks not as failures but as opportunities to refine their strategies.

3. Building a growth mindset – feedback, when delivered effectively, nurtures a growth mindset in students. It instills the belief that intelligence and a whole range of other abilities can be developed through effort and learning, promoting a positive attitude towards challenges and continuous improvement.

 

The emotional intelligence connection

1. Develops self-awareness – learning to give and receive feedback requires self-awareness. Children who engage in this process gain insight into their strengths and weaknesses, as well as a deeper understanding of themselves, others and their abilities.

2. Enhances empathy – providing constructive feedback involves understanding others’ perspectives and feelings. Teaching children to give feedback with empathy not only refines their interpersonal skills but also builds a safe, supportive learning environment.

3. Resilience in the face of critique – emotional intelligence equips children to handle feedback gracefully. By teaching them to approach criticism as an opportunity for growth rather than a personal attack, we empower them to navigate challenges with resilience and composure.

 

So why start early?

1. Forms lifelong habits – early exposure to feedback creates a healthy habit of seeking improvement throughout life. Children who are comfortable with the feedback loop are more likely to actively seek ways to enhance their skills and knowledge in various domains.

2. Effective communication skills – learning to give and receive feedback is fundamental to effective communication. By introducing these skills early, children develop the ability to articulate their thoughts, provide constructive input, and collaborate efficiently with others.

3. Preparation for real-world challenges – as we enter the professional world, the ability to give and receive feedback is a valuable skill. Starting early ensures that children are equipped with this essential tool, preparing them for future academic and career challenges.

 

Feedback, in a way, is the heartbeat of STEM learning. It propels students towards continuous improvement and success. By intertwining feedback practices with the development of emotional intelligence from a young age, we empower children to not only excel academically but also navigate the complexities of life with grace and resilience. 

As educators, parents, and mentors, we have to shape and create a culture where feedback is embraced as a catalyst for growth and a pathway to a brighter, more emotionally intelligent future.

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