Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

“How did that go?” An Oral Activity Feedback Rubric


Students Doing HomeworkI’ve always asked students to work in pairs, or small groups in class. But only lately have I started to ask for their feedback as to how it went. I’ve worked for a while on a quick feedback rubric – one that builds an expectation not only of what students should be doing when they are working in small groups – but also how they are to be working together.

The key for me in using it is the following:

Students Know What’s On the Rubric: They know that what is on the rubric – taking risks, not using English, working together, equals in an activity – are things that I value in my classroom. We have taken lots of time to practice how to support someone who doesn’t understand and, equally key, how to ask for assistance from a peer in understanding.

They Reflect Before They Select: They know that they will fill out the sheet after they have answered a reflective question (posed by me) in writing on the back. It can be anything from “During this I was most proud that I…”, “One thing that still is a stretch for me is..” or even, “I didn’t use English – here’s how I managed to do that…”. Once they turn to the actual rubric, students know that they are to select the phrases that match how they felt/what happened during the activity.

They Know It Will Be Used (Maybe Just Not When): They know that this feedback rubric can be used at ‘any time’ – and after any activity in which they worked with their classmates. They may know when they start the activity, or not know, that it will be used. It’s one way I build an awareness of what is key. If they know in advance they are often asked to ‘choose their focus’ prior to the activity and if what they want to work on is not there – they can add it.

It’s Always Ready – I keep a stack of these in a basket at my main teaching desk. Sometimes the decision to use is set well in advance but other times I choose to use it just because it feels like a good time to use it. In either case a supply is always there for me to use.


I know that the contents – and the descriptors – are a work in progress. The rubric’s value is in the information that it provides to the students as they think/reflect on their learning. It’s also a chance for me to see ‘how it went’ and what to alter or support as they continue to work in the TL.




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  1. I love this idea! ..I just found your blog today and am thrilled! I think this is the first Japanese pedagogy blog written by a non-native that I’ve found- ever. I teach high school Japanese in Oregon. Thank you for doing this. Part of my Summer reading is going to be your blog!

  2. Thanks Charlotte! I’m glad you found the blog and some of the things that I am thinking about/doing are relevant for you. I started to write to really ‘talk to myself’ about who I am as a foreign language teacher, and what I am learning/seeing/trying in my classes. If you have any questions – please don’t hesitate to contact me. Enjoy your summer – you live in a beautiful state which I love to visit!

  3. This is a great idea! Thank you for sharing. I’m going to use this! Also I learned a lot from your presentation at CAJLT.

  4. Thank you for your comment Miriam – it was great to present at CAJLT! If you have any questions about the rubric please let me know! Colleen

  5. I love your idea. Do you have something designed already for Advance level? AP Sp 3, 4. My email is
    Thank you for your help,

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