Feedback is a foundational communicative aspect of the teaching/learning processes in introductory communication courses as students seek to improve their presentational speaking skills throughout the term. Drawing on 1,673 qualitative questionnaire responses, this paper explores how students used and interpreted instructor feedback. Through our thematic analysis of a randomly selected subset of 335 responses, we identified two tensions in how students used and interpreted instructor feedback: (1) feedback as a process vs. a product and (2) feedback as integrated into the course structure vs. a justification for a grade. Theoretically, this research extends Feedback Intervention Theory by highlighting the importance and nuance of this communicative process in educational settings. Pedagogically, our findings emphasize the need for discursive opportunities that facilitate the co-construction of meaning surrounding the feedback provided in the introductory communication course.



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