Every response from students in your class is a piece of feedback that you can either choose to ignore or incorporate into your lesson. For example, you had a plan to give students the chance to brainstorm ideas for a new project, but when you opened the floor to discussion, the conversations quickly turned away from the task at hand. Soon, you had a classroom management issue to handle. This was not what you expected when you decided to facilitate this exercise.
So, what do you do?
Do you cancel the idea of student brainstorming and choose the project for them? Do you ignore their lack of engagement? Do you stop the class and begin to ask why the class is having trouble staying on task?
Maybe, your class needs to be told that their responses to your lessons are data points that you use to make decisions about future lessons. The ones that work are repeated. The ones that do not are adjusted or eliminated.
Going back to our example, ask the students if they really intended to send the signal that your giving them a voice in the planning was something they do not want. Under most circumstances, they will tell you that they DO want a voice. At that point, explain how their reaction is feedback and it plays a significant role in how you structure the class.
Sometimes, letting the students know it is feedback can help refocus the group on their work and help you avoid misdiagnosing your lesson's effectiveness.