Exploring the effectiveness of teachers’ use of descriptive feedback in the teaching and learning of English language: A case of a selected secondary school in Luwero district, central Uganda

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Mary Oluga

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Prof. Marriote Ngwaru


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


This study investigated the effectiveness of teachers’ use of descriptive feedback in the teaching and learning of English language. Effective descriptive feedback is an invaluable means of helping students understand what they need to achieve their learning goals. Three research questions examined the nature of the teachers’ descriptive feedback practices, its importance and the factors that determined teachers’ use of descriptive feedback in their classrooms. A qualitative approach with a case study design for the study. The sample consisted of seven secondary school teachers of English language and six Senior Three students in from one secondary school in Luwero District, Uganda. Data was collected using observation, interviews, focus group discussion and document analysis. Analysis of data was done iteratively. The findings of study are very useful to teachers, students and other stakeholders because of the potential of descriptive feedback in improving classroom and students’ learning. The study showed that teachers used oral descriptive feedback more often than written descriptive comments. Descriptive feedback was important for motivation, remediation and consolidation of learning. However, the findings also indicated teachers’ inadequate knowledge of the effective use of descriptive feedback, huge workload and students’ perceptions of negative criticism hindered teachers’ effective use of descriptive feedback. The study recommended that teachers needed continuous professional development and clinical supervision. It also suggested that teachers should sensitise students on the importance of descriptive feedback. In addition, recruitment and posting of more teachers of English language was recommended to reduce the workload. The study also recommended that a component of descriptive feedback be incorporated in the curriculum of teacher education. Further studies is recommended to examine students’ use of descriptive feedback.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library