This article is the fourth in a series by the Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics (COMSEP) reviewing the critical attributes and skills of superb clinical teachers. The previous article in this series reviewed the vital importance of direct observation of students.1  The purpose of this article is to describe how to use the information gained from the direct observation, namely the role of feedback. Although too often used interchangeably, encouragement, evaluation, and feedback are quite distinct. Encouragement (eg, “good job!”) is supportive but does nothing to improve the learner's skills. Evaluation is summative and is the final judgment of the learner's performance. Feedback, however, is designed to improve future performance. This article focuses on feedback—what it is, why it is important, some of the barriers to effective feedback, and how to give helpful feedback.

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