Thursday, February 08, 2018



By Julie Frank, Instructional Coach

Feedback. We know we should be giving it to our students, and often express that we would like to get more of it from our administrator.  Yet, we struggle with it. So why is quality feedback so difficult for us to engage in?

First, let’s explore why feedback is worth doing well and identify the benefits to those who engage in feedback.  Feedback is a tool that coaches us toward improvement. When it meets the criteria of being specific, timely, consistent and intentional, it is a tool with which we can gauge performance against desired behaviors or goals. In other words, feedback should be delivered in relation to what the receiver is needing. Let’s keep in mind that for feedback to be productive, the receiver must be able to learn and take action related to their goals. Unwanted feedback is criticism.

Giving feedback is not letting someone know they have met a goal- “Your score is 30” or “You got an A”.  It is also not the same thing as praise- “Good job”, “This is excellent work”.  Giving feedback takes effort.  If you want to give good feedback (and what educator doesn’t want that) you’ve got some upfront work to do.  You need to understand the work of the person receiving the feedback.  What is their desired outcome or goal? What work has been already been tried and/or accomplished?  

Feedback is difficult. Engaging with someone about the work they are (or potentially are not) doing can feel uncomfortable to both the giver and receiver.  It is human nature to stick with nice praise versus constructive feedback, but let’s consider the alternative.  If we always stick with nice praise (which is often false too) there is no growth.  We remain in the same state.  However, when we dare to engage in giving and receiving quality feedback, we open a door of possibilities and growth.  I’d choose growth over complacency any day! We cannot change or grow what we do not recognize.  Feedback is our opportunity to ‘recognize’ and take action.

Here is your challenge. Start small. Identify a situation where feedback would be helpful, where growth is desired. Then make a conscious effort to engage in the kind of feedback that will make a real difference.

Twitter Tuesday Questions:
  1. Why do you think that quality feedback so difficult for us to engage in?

  1. Can you identify an area where feedback is going well? Is it teacher to teacher, teacher to student, student to student, admin to teacher?

  1. What element of feedback do you find most challenging?

  1. What one specific practice could you put in place to help you practice and improve a challenge you face with feedback?

  1. Feedback is a life skill. How are we supporting our students in building and practicing skills to give and receive quality feedback?

  1. At what level do you feel feedback is important?  Grade level, teachers, administration and why?

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