Teachers continually have been trained that feedback is vital for the learning process. Educators know that feedback is more than just a grade. Training programs stress that feedback needs to be timely and specific to be effective. Giving feedback has a daily occurrence in classrooms. Since feedback is valuable for growth, TEACHERS (and Administrators) need to be receiving it too.
Teachers need to gather feedback from many sources to make sure they are staying sharp at their craft. Teachers need to be observed by administrators who are trained in giving feedback. This should not only come as an observation for evaluation but as a regular check up to stay true to their teaching craft. In a transparent, trusting environment teachers should have regular conference sessions with administrators to discuss how they are growing in their craft. If time doesn’t permit for administrators to give this feedback, then peers should observe each other providing feedback for growth.
Too often this is not what happens. Trust doesn’t exist in buildings. Staff do not want to show their weaknesses to each other. Administrators have very little time to spend doing growth observations with all mandatory evaluation observations. With the raised anxiety of an evaluation, teachers put on “dog and pony” shows to highlight strengths avoiding any areas that need improvement. Any feedback gained from these observations is not very valuable. How can this be changed? How can a system be created where teachers desire more feedback?
Teachers also need to seek feedback from students. Before, during and after lessons teachers should be asking students about their learning experience. Before lessons teachers should focus on feedback about how to deliver the lesson. Does the lesson need hands on activities? How can we move about our learning space? What type of writing products can we produce to show learning? During the lesson teachers have to look to feedback about the activities. Is the material too easy? too hard? DO directions need to be explained more? After the lesson teachers need to ask about the experience. What worked? What did not work? What could be added to make it better? How might it have been changed? Many times teachers forget to digest this feedback and use it to adapt their lessons. Why? Often due to time or plans. It is easier to stay on course than respond to the feedback even if the course takes the ship off target.
Teachers need to examine their practice. Value feedback. Grow in their craft!
Administrators need to focus on growing their staff more less on evaluating!
Students share your voice, give feedback that the teachers can hear and use to grow.