1: The team of researchers from Stanford, Yale, and Columbia discovered something surprising.
They ran an experiment with middle school students who were instructed to write an essay. Afterward, teachers provided different types of feedback to improve their work, Daniel Coyle writes in The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups.
There was “one particular form of feedback boosted student effort and performance so immensely that they deemed it ‘magical feedback,'” Daniel notes.
2: When students received this specific type of feedback, they were much more likely to choose to revise their papers than the other groups of students. And their performance improved significantly.
The feedback was not complex. In fact, it consisted of a simple phrase:
“I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know you can reach them.”
3: Only nineteen words.
Notice: There is no instruction about how to improve.
Daniel believes this type of feedback is so powerful because it “delivers a burst of belonging cues.”
When we breakdown the magical phrase, we see three separate cues:
1: You are part of this group.
2: This group is special; we have high standards here.
3: I believe you can reach those standards.
The message signals our unconscious brain: “Here is a safe place to give effort,” Daniel writes.
Reflection: How might I experiment with providing feedback using the magical phrase: “I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know you can reach them.”
Action: Use the phrase today and notice what happens.