Understanding and Providing ‘Cohesive’ and ‘Coherent’ Feedback on Writing


  • Ahmar Mahboob University of Sydney




feedback, genre pedagogy, teaching learning cycle


This paper, building on results from a large online embedded language and literacy development project, introduces the notions of ‘cohesion’ and ‘coherence’ in feedback and outlines steps that instructors can take to provide such feedback in their own contexts. Cohesion in feedback can be defined in terms of its goals, audience, and organisation; and coherence in terms of how instances of feedback work together to scaffold a student into developing a deeper understanding of issues in their writing. The paper argues that feedback which is cohesive and coherent is not a collection of reactions to student’s errors/mistakes, but it is a thoughtfully and carefully drafted text which responds to a student’s writing based on an assessment of their needs. The paper includes an evaluation of how students respond to such feedback by sharing examples of students’ drafts, the feedback they received, and their responses to the feedback. This paper helps us in understanding the nature of feedback as well as understanding how to apply it with the goal of making our students stronger, more independent, and self-regulating writers.

Author Biography

Ahmar Mahboob, University of Sydney

Ahmar Mahboob teaches linguistics at the University of Sydney, Australia. Ahmar has a keen interest in critical language variation. His research focuses on different facets of how language variation relates to educational, social, professional, and political issues. He has published in the areas of English language learning/teaching, English language teacher education, identity management, language policy and practice, minority languages, NNEST studies, pidgin and creole languages, Systemic Functional Linguistics, and World Englishes.


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How to Cite

Mahboob, A. (2015). Understanding and Providing ‘Cohesive’ and ‘Coherent’ Feedback on Writing. Writing and Pedagogy, 7(2-3), 355–376. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v7i2-3.26461



Reflections on Practice