There is a vast body of research on the intricate link between academic success and a student’s perceived self-worth. There is also a large amount of research detailing how the dynamics of student-teacher interactions play a key role in the formation of self-worth by these same students. However, Fay and Funk (1995) point out that educators only have access to the formation of such perceptions when providing feedback to behavior. Schroeder (n.d.) points out that feedback also involves the methods by which the educator communicates correctness of student responses to academic questions. Jim Fay’s (1995) discussion of three major teaching styles reminders readers that feedback sends not only the overt message of the words used but the covert messages of tone, actions and general body language. Of the three teaching styles - helicopter, drill sergeants, and consultants – it is the consultant teacher who embodies the overt and covert “messages of personal worth, dignity, and strength” (Fay & Funk, 1995, p. 197). When looking to the strategies employed by consultant teachers, it becomes obvious that these can be used with all teaching styles to provide corrective feedback in a whole instruction setting. First, educators should make sure the questions being asked are of appropriate difficulty and cognitive levels while being stated as clearly as possible. Schroeder (n.d.) suggests that questions dealing with new material should be such that 80% of the responses given are correct and 90+% for review materials. Educators may find that low-level questions that ask what, where, and who are best for this. Such pedagogical procedures will promote self-esteem as well as momentum needed to progress with instructional activities. Students will then be more willing to work for answers to higher order questions dealing with the why and how.
Secondly, teachers should react to responses in such a way as to encourage student answers. Quick, certain responses that are correct need only affirmation that they are indeed correct. Correct but hesitantly given responses need the affirmation of correctness as well as praise and perhaps a short review of why the response is correct. Incorrect responses that are due to a careless error need only a quick reference to the error and time for the student to be allowed to provide the correct answer. Incorrect answers based on a lack of knowledge should be met with prompts and hints that may engage the needed information. Clarifying, rephrasing, or even changing the difficulty level may also assist these students (Schroeder, n.d.). Educators should provide students with every opportunity to get a correct answer but should not prolong the experience once it becomes obvious that the student lacks the knowledge needed.
Third, instead of issuing orders teachers should present expectations as a challenge of something the student can and will do - positive expectancy. There are many procedures that will engender such an atmosphere. However, students sometimes resist the challenge even though a sense of positive expectancy has been created. Effective teachers will continue to work with the student and try to help him identify how to meet the expectation.
Such teachers are engaging in tenacity (Saphier & Gower, 1987). Tenacious teachers engage in a "no excuses" policy. In this procedure the teacher will ask why the student is unable to meet the expectation. She will then refuse to accept such excuses. Work may be sent back to be done over; supplies may be procured and provided to the student; help and individual instruction may be offered more often; and eventually the consequences of the performance - superior, adequate, or poor - will be given without anger (Saphier & Gower, 1987).