Austin’s Butterfly – Using peer feedback to improve
In this video, Ron Berger demonstrates how 1st grade students in the US (aged 6-7) helped 1st grader Austin to improve his drawing of a tiger swallowtail butterfly. Through a series of critiques and revisions from his classmates, Austin went from producing a fairly generic drawing of a butterfly to a scientifically accurate drawing of a tiger swallowtail.
What the video shows is the power of peer feedback and how it can be used to improve a student’s work. The experiment was carried out with a group of 1st graders, which demonstrates how the technique can be used with learners of all ages. Students often see their teacher as the source of all knowledge and are unaware of the power of peer feedback. The video demonstrates the potential power of feedback from peers.
This video would also be useful for trainee teachers on programmes where they have to give feedback to peers on their teaching practice, such as on the Cambridge CELTA. On such courses, trainees often find it easier to give positive feedback than constructive criticism. However, there is a relatively short period when a trainee teacher has the opportunity to receive feedback on their teaching, before they are released in the classroom on their own, as qualified teachers. Although teachers do develop a level of self-awareness, it is not always easy to notice everything that is done well or not so well.