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Feedback is Like Water to Plants

Feedback is like water to plants. Both are necessary for growth.

In the By George Culture Survey, completed by 461 educators, under the heading of Quality Teaching, only 59% of educators agree with the statement: “The teachers at this school openly receive feedback about our teaching.”

This means that over 40% of staff consider the area of feedback as quite lacking. It could be that teachers have had a negative experience when receiving feedback or the current feedback methodology is poorly structured. Nevertheless, the feedback culture needs to change.

John Hattie places constructive feedback as a cornerstone of quality teaching and learning.

Feedback is a sure pathway to the improvement of any skill which leads to the

growth of the whole person due to the attainment of a better outcome.

Like watering plants with nutrients, they need to grow. Feedback is the fine nutrients every educator requires.

Thinking of the person receiving the feedback is the first place to consider how the formal feedback is to be delivered.

The Courageous Leaders I work with have implemented the following model which takes into account both parties, the observer and the recipient.

Intention – What is the intention of the observation for feedback?

The recipient declares their Growth Goal which is the area of teaching they feel they can improve. This gives ownership of the feedback to the recipient and becomes the focus.

Observation – Look for the behaviour. Listen for the language. Lean into the feelings. Stay focused on the Growth Goal as you gather evidence for celebration and challenge.

Conversation – Giving feedback is a conversation. Use “I-Statements about what you saw, heard and felt. These would be relevant to the Growth Goal.

Recipients will feel uncomfortable when the improvement areas are discussed. So, to create a space of safety use suggestions which are not personal to them.

“What I do in my lesson is…”

“I have seen Mrs. Smith use the strategy of …”

A school wanting to improve quality teaching could do no worse than creating a feedback culture that delivers nutritious feedback and has 100% of educators agreeing to the statement; “The teachers at this school openly receive feedback about our teaching.”

What percentage of your staff would agree with the statement?

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