Emotions Experienced by Instructors Delivering Written Feedback and Dialogic Feed-Forward





assessment feedback, dialogic feed-forward, emotions, feedback literacy, emotional labour


Understanding the emotions experienced by higher education instructors related to assessment feedback, how instructors understand student emotions, and how instructors might manage these emotions positively, can help to secure the educational benefits of feedback. In this research, we aimed to explore the emotional responses that instructors experienced through the giving and receiving of assessment feedback. We undertook qualitative data collection, carrying out individual semi-structured interviews with instructors from three universities who had administered a dialogic feed-forward intervention on one of their teaching units. The full interview transcripts were analysed inductively using thematic analysis. Five main themes emerged from the interview data: 1. Summative written feedback aroused largely negative emotions in instructors because they felt distanced from their students; 2. Instructors experienced a broad range of emotions related to dialogic feed-forward encounters, emerging from their proximity to students; 3. Dialogic feed-forward, as an affective encounter, was emotionally challenging for instructors; 4. Dialogic feed-forward built strong learning relationships between students and instructors, strengthening students’ sense of belonging; 5. Dialogic feed-forward was transformational for instructors as educators. We consider the implications of our findings for instructors and wider assessment and feedback practices, including emotional labour, promotional reward, and instructor professional development.


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Author Biographies

Jennifer Hill, University of Gloucestershire

Jennifer Hill, PhD, is professor of higher education pedagogies and head of learning and teaching innovation at the University of Gloucestershire (GBR). 

Kathy Berlin, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana

Kathryn Berlin, PhD, is an associate professor and program director for health sciences at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana (USA). 

Julia Choate, Monash University

Julia Choate, PhD, is an associate professor and director of physiology education at Monash University, Melbourne (AUS). 

Lisa Cravens-Brown, The Ohio State University

Lisa Cravens-Brown is associate vice chair for instruction in the department of psychology at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (USA).

Lisa McKendrick-Calder, MacEwan University

Lisa Mckendrick-Calder, MN, is an assistant professor in the department of nursing sciences at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta (CAN). 

Susan Smith, Leeds Beckett, University

Susan Smith, PhD, is a professor in teaching and learning and associate director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching at Leeds Beckett, University, Leeds (GBR). 



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Our ISSOTL 2019 International Collaborative Writing Group members. Pictured L-R are Lisa McKendrick-Calder, Julia Choate, Lisa Cravens-Brown, Kathy Berlin, Jennifer Hill, and Susan Smith.




How to Cite

Hill, Jennifer, Kathy Berlin, Julia Choate, Lisa Cravens-Brown, Lisa McKendrick-Calder, and Susan Smith. 2023. “Emotions Experienced by Instructors Delivering Written Feedback and Dialogic Feed-Forward”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 11 (January). https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.11.6.