Feedback Explained

feedback3After comparing several definitions of feedback, I found the following to best fit my idea of feedback as it relates to the topics discussed here on Snappy Speech:

According to, “… feedback is the information sent to an entity (individual or a group) about its prior behavior so that the entity may adjust its current and future behavior to achieve the desired result.”

But all feedback is not created equal. Certainly, we have all experienced feedback from a boss, coworker, partner, or friend that was well-intentioned but came across as critical or even insulting. Rather than making the adjustments to our behavior to achieve better results, as the definition above describes, we may have withdrawn from the conversation, become angry or defensive, or simply decided not to ask that person for their opinion again.

That is not what we are going for, here.


Giving feedback is teaching. And whether we know it of not, we are all giving feedback all the time. I guess that makes us all teachers, doesn’t it?

To further describe the feedback I am suggesting, I’ve broken it down into four main points:

Positive – Immediate – Natural – Simple (P.I.N.S.)

We must provide feedback to our kids as they develop speech and language skills that informs them of the difference between what they said and what is correct, WITHOUT CORRECTING them. That may sound contradictory, but let me explain.

CORRECTION implies the child did something wrong, and might sound something like this:

Child: “Daddy! I can’t find my wed hat!”

Dad: “It’s RED, not WED” or …

“You don’t have a WED hat,” or …

“No, no … you’re saying it wrong. Say, RED.”

FEEDBACK validates the child while giving them extra exposure to the correct form. It is not to be given in a critical manner.

“You can’t find your rred hat? Let’s look for it. … Rred hat, where are you?” or …

“I have your rred hat,”  or …

“Here’s your rred hat. You sure love your rred hat, don’t you?”

You can provide this feedback with an emphsis on the taget sound or not. I would encourage a slight emphasis that still sounds natural. We want the kids to hear and notice the sound, but let’s not overdo it.


Feedback is immediate, therefore, relevant to the child in the moment. Kids are more likely to make the connection when they hear the contrast between /r/ and /w/ immediately after saying “wed hat.” When we continue to demonstrate the correct use of /r/ (or whatever the concept is), it is considered modeling. And modeling is good. Do it. Lot’s of it!


The examples of feedback I provide are only examples. It is important that each person use language that fits their personality, feels and sounds natural and is appropriate for their child. It may take some practice and a little bit of homework. If you are uncomfortable with giving feedback, contact me for consultation or feedback coaching.


Keeping it simple is the whole point of Snappy Speech. We do not need to lecture the kids, or obsess over it. They learn by doing and hearing and experiencing. If we make the experience stressful or a chore, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. We don’t give feedback, then ask them to do or say something the way we just did/said it. It is not therapy – it’s just feedback. Give the feedback and MOVE ON. 

For some, it will be necessary and appropriate to give more specific, direct feedback. This is where those developmental norms can be useful; however, since feedback is NOT correction, and feedback is NOT asking the child to do anything …


I’ll elaborate on when and how to give more specific feedback in my next post.



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