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“Feeding back” in VET

Interestingly feedback is one of the three core competencies for all trainers or educators in the apprenticing companies of the German Dual System. It is obligatory, to obtain an  “ADA” or “AEVO” teacher training which can only be assessed and certified by the chamber of craft and trades (HWK) or the chamber of commerce (IHK). The core competences “instruction”, “technical discussion” and “feedback” are being trained theoretically and practically and will be assessed in a hybrid format before certified. In-company training will only be allowed and registered, if there is a professional trainer that can provide this qualification. Academic education for vocational teachers does not include the “ADA” or “AEVO” certificate.

In accordance to the ADA or AEVO curriculum, every instructor is aware of

  1. the different types of feedback,
  • Intuitive: spontaneous, directly reflecting conspicuousness
  • Personal: related to behaviour, opinion or way of thinking (of life)
  • Professional: related to strengths and weaknesses in the professional context
  • Constructive: numbers, data, facts, resource- and goal-related, transparent      
  1. of how to give feedback:
  • Feedback should always be given in small bites and in language that is as understandable as possible
  • It should serve as a reminder for the trainee and make clear what is meant, ideally by means of examples.
  • To create understanding is essential, trainees with a different cultural background might need “parables” instead of examples. 
  • Feedback can be complemented by visualisation or sketch, which is very common e.g. in the construction industry.

c)  what to ensure If giving feedback:

  • Specifically name observations. Describe behaviour in detail.
  • Let the other person know what reactions and feelings the behaviour has triggered
  • Articulate your own feelings with first-person messages. “It annoyed me that…”
  • Clearly express own goals and desires
  • Only express feedback on limited, changeable behaviours.
  • Refrain from judgments and condemnations.
  • Give direct feedback (in private, personally, address the person directly). No global, generalising statements!
  • Choose the appropriate situation (place, time). The feedback recipient should not lose face.
  • Mention positive things (recognition) as well. Reinforce the positive.

d)  what to ensure If receiving feedback:

  • Listen, listen to feedback, receive – keep silent
  • No justifying, no giving reasons
  • At most ask if something was not understood
  • Pause for reflection
  • Thanking for the open feedback
  • Decide for yourself what you want to keep, what you want to change, or what you want to observe further
  • Tell the feedback provider what the feedback has achieved

e)  what to eliminate in feedback conversation:

  • Generalisations
  • Vagueness
  • “One should…”
  • “One should….”
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