As educator’s we strive to grow and improve in our practices over the course of our career. How we do this varies from one person to the next. While there are many different ways the growth happens, a common component is the importance of FEEDBACK along the journey.
Feedback by definition is “a person’s performance of a task used as a basis for improvement.” I believe it is not only feedback that allows for growth, but also asking the right questions in our conversations.
Specifically consider the following:
- If we want someone to learn a new skill then it involves a cycle of:
- Learning the skill
- Practicing the skill
- Reflecting upon using the skill
- Getting Feedback about how the skill was used
- Revising the skill if needed
So often, we try to learn new skills but if we are not taking the time to get feedback about its impact then our purpose may never be fully reached.
- As we work with students, so many educators do an outstanding job of using formative assessments with students to measure their learning during the unit so help can be given if needed. However, to take the learning deeper and make it more impactful, how we deliver and provide feedback to students may be the most important aspect. Consider these points about feedback within our learning environments with students:
- Upgrading Feedback is the key to sustaining a great culture for learning
- When feedback is given, learners need to be heard and given chance for dialogue
- When giving feedback to students, as Jim Knight From High Impact Instruction shared it should:
- Be focused on objective data, not the student themselves.
- Be given as soon as possible.
- Provide actionable information (final grades are rarely actionable)
- Be easy to understand
- Peer feedback can be used but it must be modeled and practiced for it to be effective
- The goal of feedback is to train students to be able to assess their own progress
- As leaders, we also need this feedback process if we are to grow in our leadership skills. When having conversations with colleagues and giving/receiving feedback, this involves the use of questions. As Shelly Burgess and Beth Houf shared in Lead Like A Pirate, “asking good questions inform – asking great questions transform.” As leaders, we must ask questions of our colleagues-listen to their response-analyze their feedback and reflect in order to learn/grow. The importance of questions when giving or receiving feedback is essential as:
- It allows us to connect with people and engage in meaningful conversations.
- It allows us to build ideas and give us different perspectives.
- It challenges our “mindsets” and gets us out of our ruts.
As we approach the end of this school year and prepare to have our year-end conversations with staff, students or parents; one of my goals is to always gather feedback. This provides rich insight into someone else’s perspectives and allows me to ask meaningful questions that provides greater growth in my skillset as a learner. I encourage you to also take some time as you approach the end of this school year and provide feedback and seek it from all constituents. In some instances, we may not like the feedback we get but this will only allow us a greater focus on our work and in our growth as leaders.
I look forward to hearing from you about your thoughts related to how you use feedback in your work. Comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org