Eight Questions to Ask Myself When Providing Critique to a Student

I was thinking a lot about perfectionism and critique today, and realized that it would be good to come up with the standards by which I can assure that my critique is well-founded and in the interests of the students I teach. Here are the questions I came up with to guide me:

1) Is the role I play (formally) in the student’s life one that requires attention to the area(s) in which I am providing critique?
2) Is my critique based on an assessment of the student’s potential and desire to move him/her to meet it?
3) Is the critique I am offering related to the work s/he is doing, or have I wandered “off the trail” to a peripheral area?
4) Have I given myself a chance to reflect on or process the work on which I am offering critique before writing it or saying it?
5) Would I make this critique of any student in a similar situation whose work or performance was also similar?
6) Am I assuring that I am not personalizing or identifying with the criticism? Am I able to help the student find his/her own way with the assigned work or goal?
7) Will the student’s work/performance suffer if I do not provide the feedback?
8) Would I be willing to have a colleague witness or see the feedback/criticism I am providing?

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