How do you provide feedback to students or teachers?
Feedback is easy to get wrong and is sometimes difficult and sensitive. The Feedback Box model (from The Decision Book; 50 models for strategic thinking) will help you categorise the feedback you give or receive in order to clearly establish a plan of action.
Let’s start by watching this short video.
Academic research from Hattie suggests that ‘feedback’ has a 0.73+ impact on student outcomes over an academic year and with examination boards and classroom observers/inspectors preferring written records for evidencing progress, we can see why ‘feedback’ is yet to be addressed.
We know there are many forms of feedback – written; verbal and non-verbal – and this is why I am keen to conduct verbal feedback research with University College London in 2018-19. With workload blighting teachers all over the U.K., perhaps speaking to students using explicit language to give students higher quality and actionable feedback, may also reduce the marking burden for teachers and increase student outcomes. At a higher level, this evidence could then inform examination bodies and school inspections over what is and is not effective forms of feedback – especially if the evidence is required for someone (outside of the classroom) to verify what has been learned.
Criticism or a compliment?
Feedback is one of the most difficult and sensitive processes in the classroom and when observing other teachers. It is easy for the feedback to be lost when it is received as criticism or as a false compliment. Equally, compliments can make us complacent and the complete opposite could damage or motivation and mental health.
For schools that have moved away from lesson gradings – and many still do this, despite the research – may linger in a period of learning walks and appraisal observations where the default mode still is a (WWW/EBI) What went well? Even better if? model for providing feedback. I still believe this to be a halfway house between the former and the latter, and doesn’t quite get to the nub of developing a teacher in the classroom. Rather, the teacher gets better for the observer and/or the performance.
For those teachers and schools that I have worked with over the past 12 months, we will have demonstrated together how the P.P.I.P.L and G.R.O.W models can work when structuring feedback conversations.
A Feedback Model
Advice provided in the book makes a reference to the Talmud:
- Pay attention to your thoughts, because they become words.
- Pay attention to your words, because they become actions.
- Pay attention to your actions, because they become habits.
- Pay attention to your habits, because they become your character.
- Pay attention to your character, because it is your fate.
This feedback model is not only about working out what has and what has not succeeded, but it will also help you decide whether and how to react. Both useful for the person providing or receiving the feedback. Using the simple grid, you can categorise the feedback you receive in order to clearly establish a plan of action.
(Credit: Krogerus and Tschappeler)