Esterhazy, R. (2018). What matters for productive feedback? Disciplinary practices and their relational dynamics
Most research on feedback has paid limited attention to the role of disciplines and their relational dynamics. This article addresses this limitation by offering a conceptualisation of feedback as a relational process that emerges through feedback encounters shaped by the educational and professional practices of the discipline. Using data from a qualitative case study of an undergraduate software engineering course unit, it explores the relational dynamics between different elements of the course and how these dynamics matter for the emergence of productive feedback encounters. The findings show that a wide range of productive feedback encounters occurred between students and both human and material sources throughout the course. Feedback encounters were productive when students had the opportunity to navigate the tools and conventions necessary to participate in the educational practices of the course and, by extension, the discipline’s professional practices. Different learning activities were characterised by distinctive relational dynamics that provided various opportunities and constraints for productive feedback encounters to emerge. The findings demonstrate the importance of accounting for disciplinary practices and their relational aspects when designing for learning activities that aim to enable students to productively seek out and engage with feedback.