Feedback, who needs it?


Photo: Flickr-Alan Levine CC

The last learning section in the mooc I’m taking really focused on giving quality feedback and what an effective coaching session looks like and includes.  To me, it has been the most useful learning session so far as the learning lent itself well to all forms of effective coaching.  Whether it was interns, new teachers, or experienced teachers the information in this weeks session fit for all.  I thought this was important because up until now a lot has been focused on new teachers and I see a genuine importance in being able to coach and work effectively with experienced teachers as well.  In some ways working with experienced teachers may need the use of  more of the effective coaching strategies as they are coming to the table with experience and pre-determined ideas about the profession, perhaps more than that brand new teacher.

Feedback is important for everyone in the education system.  How do we know if we are getting it right without feedback. In an earlier post I shared a TedTalk video of Bill Gates discussing the need for teacher feedback.  Check it out of you haven’t already.  It is very American but I found the message useful.  Effective feedback can come for teachers from coaches but it is also important to consider feedback that comes from students, parents, other teachers, and administration.  I think the administration aspect is important.  I’m always impressed by admin teams that take time to work through goals with their teaching staff and spend some time int heir classrooms.  I found this additional read by Tim Westerberg  as I was researching this week and thought it made some good points about effective feedback and being on an admin team.  The big idea from my mooc this week was what to look for within that feedback that makes it effective.  The feedback should be goal driven, forward-looking, and directive in order to be most effective.  So basically effective feedback is focused, one skill at a time with follow through.  It is as much a planning session as coaching session.  The rule of thumb seems to be 1/3 discussion of past teaching and 2/3 time working on practice and feedback for moving forward.  I like this, keeps teachers from getting too focused on what they have done vs what they can do.  Finally coaches are direct.  They set up goals, practice, and framework that matches a shared instructional vision and allows for change and success.

What do you think about feedback…where should it come form for teachers?  Do we require feedback in all stages of our professional career?

Now in the mooc we have learned about what effective coaching is and looks like the last section dealt solely with having an effective session with teachers suing the effective coaching skills we have learned. The mooc provided me with a guide to organizing my time working with teachers.  The stand out ideas to me were goals, precise positives, and prep steps.


Previous Goals-Specific data should be used within the session to link feedback implementation to student learning or behaviour.

Big Goals-Do we change our big goal for the next session or stick with it.  Things to think about in this section had to do with whether or not teachers needed to master a skill to benefit and change or just be aware of it as well as what is most important for student learning.

Precise Positives

During the session make positive feedback very precise.  Connect teacher input to student output.  Positive feedback should be legitimate to the skill being practiced.

Prep Steps

Have teachers use some of the time prepping for the next goal.  Use role plays, scenarios, immediate feedback, and confidence on practicing the new skill.  Help your teachers prepare, give ideas, and practice.  Keeping in contact between session is also important for coaches and teachers, use post meeting email to continue the support form the session.

The effective coaching session is so important in encouraging change in teachers.  The skills in this mooc are invaluable to the process of helping teachers new and experienced.

Learning through the videos, readings, and hands on experience in this mooc have been great.  In fact so great stay tuned for my next post that will include my reflection on using these skills with actual teachers in my division as I had a chance to do some coaching in the goal area of differentiation in the classroom!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s