Pendleton’s rules

These can apply to group or individual feedback on performance observed at first hand or on video.

  1. Clarify any points of information/fact

  2. Ask the learner what s/he did well – ensure that they identify the strengths of the performance and do not stray into weaknesses.

  3. Discuss what went well, adding your own observations (if there is a group observing the performance, ask the group what went well; again, keep them to the strengths.

  4. Ask the learner to say what went less well and what they would do differently next time.

  5. Discuss what went less well, adding your own observations and recommendations (if there is a group observing the performance, ask the group to add their observations and recommendations.

Some strengths of Pendleton’s Rules

  1. Offers the learner the opportunity to evaluate their own practice and allows even critical points to be matters of agreement.

  2. Allows initial learner observations to be built upon by the observer(s).

  3. Ensures strengths are given parity with weaknesses.

  4. Deals with specifics.

Some difficulties with Pendleton’s Rules

  1. People may find it hard to separate strengths and weaknesses in the formulaic manner prescribed. Insisting upon this formula can interrupt thought processes and perhaps cause the loss of important points. Though it sets out to protect the learner, it is artificial.

  2. Feedback on areas of need is held back until part way through the session, although learners’ may be anxious and wanting to explore these as a priority. This may reduce the effectiveness of feedback on strengths.

  3. Holding four separate conversations covering the same performance can be time consuming and inefficient. It can prevent more in-depth consideration of priorities.

What do you think?

Acknowledgement: information on this handout was adapted from material obtained from the Modular Trainers Course, Worcester.

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