How To Make the Most Out of the Feedback You Receive as an ESL Learner

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

ESL Feedback

Receiving feedback on our language learning journey is inevitable.

For example, during an important sales conversation, someone asks you to repeat what you just said because he or she didn't understand. That's feedback.

Maybe your boss informs you that she has enrolled you in English language classes, and you perceive that as negative feedback about your language skills.

Or, you go to get your haircut and explain the style and cut that you want, but you walk out of the salon with the exact opposite of what you tried to describe. That's feedback (or perhaps an example of a bad hairdresser).

When you receive feedback that feels negative to you, it can be discouraging.

But what if you could take the ESL feedback you receive and turn it into a source of positive motivation? Sheila Heen, author, businesswoman, and lecturer at Harvard Law School, explains it perfectly in her popular Ted Talk about feedback:

"What if we could actually see receiving feedback as a skill and we could get better at learning from feedback, taking charge if it, and driving our own learning?"

Man, that sounds empowering! In her Ted Talk, Sheila talks a lot about how the receiver of the feedback is really the one with the power. She says, "'s the receiver who decides what they are going to let in, what sense they are going to make of it, and whether and how they choose to change."

I love this perspective on receiving feedback and advice. It changes the entire dynamic of the exchange. So, how can we extract positive information from a situation that feels negat