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feedback sandwich

Feedback Sandwich: How does it help us effectively grow?

Recently, I came across a term that encompasses how we receive feedback, known as feedback sandwich. Several times, if the peers and mentors are kind, we receive good feedback despite how bad our work turns out to be. (If the mentors and peers are not kind, you may have to rethink your decision to stay in your work ecosystem.)

Positive feedback is usually empowering by its very nature. It helps one to push themselves further, despite how difficult that is. That does not mean all feedback one receives is positive; there is a tinge of ways one could improve oneself. Now, there is something called a feedback sandwich, which is what we receive.

What is a feedback sandwich?

A feedback sandwich is a feedback mechanism which seeks to provide two forms of feedback – both positive and negative – in order to help create a constructive environment. The idea is to provide both positive and negative comments in such a manner that each individual feels they are heard, respected and valued in the space they work in. This invariably helps reduce negative emotions.

How does a feedback sandwich work?

In this feedback sandwich, one begins with an appraisal of positive feedback on one’s work. Then, allow oneself to deal with some criticism and constructive feedback on the work. After that, you will give some direction on how they can further improve their work. In that sense, finally, you are to give positive feedback about the work. So, this is a mechanism:

  1. First praise.
  2. Then critique.
  3. And finally, in the form of appraisal, provide positive feedback.

In many cases, as academics, we are to work with peers and colleagues. Our works are sustained on feedback loops. We are often made to provide feedback on other’s work through archaic peer-review processes. Academics find it frustrating to deal with feedback from others. Part of the reason is that they are sometimes nasty and can get personal without substance. And in those cases, an academic is often driven to lose a sense of working on projects they would otherwise undertake.

An Illustration of Feedback Sandwich

Let me now try to provide certain feedback on someone’s writing as an illustration:

First of all, your writing flows well. And your sentences connect with one another. However, you can write shorter sentences. You can also make your writing interactive and engaging. Overall, this is an excellent writing. And I can see that you have put in a lot of effort into this essay, and are likely to write better.

This is a simple example of a feedback sandwich. It began with how the peer’s writing flows well and how their sentences are engaging. But, soon after, it tells that they must write shorter sentences to make it more engaging. And finally, this feedback ends with how the peer has put in lots of effort in their writing—and how that is evident in my own reading of it.


Many times, we all want to hear good things. Listening to good things always helps in our growth and everyday living. Individuals are prone to learning from their mistakes. And it is human to make mistakes, learn, and grow.

The feedback sandwich is structured so that it helps in one’s growth. A constructive feedback mechanism is always essential. And feedback sandwich helps us with it. When each of us adapts mechanisms for giving feedback in a manner that is kind, we all grow together. It will just help us be empathetic towards one another and towards ourselves. Therefore, we must adopt a mechanism to provide feedback that both helps one grow and, at the same time, allows them to improve.

Cover Photo by Johann Walter Bantz on Unsplash

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