CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK BY MARKERS TO SUPPORT STUDENTS IN THEIR STUDIES: A CASE STUDY OF ABET STUDENTS AT UNISA

H.S. Sibiya

University of South Africa (SOUTH AFRICA)
This paper is a discussion of the findings of an investigation into the feedback practices of markers who assess the work of Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) preservice teachers. In an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) context, such as that offered by the ABET department at the University of South Africa (UNISA), one of the primary ways of assisting students in their learning is to provide written feedback by markers and lecturers. We analysed a purposively chosen sample of the feedback offered by the thirty eight markers to the student population of 32,717 from a dialogical self perspective (Hermans & Hermans-Konopka 2010). Our aim was to look at the dialogical space created by markers in their interactions with students. The objective of the study was to inform training practices of markers in future. The transferral of skills and knowledge can only be accomplished if both markers and students are willing and able to enter an open dialogical space, but an open dialogical space is socially complex (Miles & Ainscow, 2011). Booth's (2011) values, which inform an open dialogical space rather than a closed monological one, were used to analyse the data collected from questionnaires and interviews with markers and students. It was found that for many markers the traditional habits from an earlier system of education which was not inclusive predominated but that they were willing to learn about inclusivity, open dialogue and collaboration.