Does your school have a ‘feedback policy?’
I don’t know many people who love reading or writing teaching and learning policy, but I definitely fit into this category.
I really enjoy reading and helping all schools develop their teaching and learning policies. Strangely, this passion has emerged from when I attempted this process in my first leadership role, leading teaching and learning in 2007.
After published work in three schools, I had almost mastered the process; from developing to embedding, then refining the policy alongside the rhythm of the academic year, governance and staff professional development.
It has become a mission for me to help schools become explicit with what is written in this paperwork.
You can download the teaching and learning policies that I collect as part of my day job; suggesting how each school modifies their policy in keeping with the school’s vision, pedagogy and cognitive science.
Protecting time to talk…
At a visit to a primary school this week, I’ve shared 9 different forms of assessment I have established; working to bust the myth that written feedback is the only type.
During the discussions, differentiating between formative and summative techniques, further nuance became even clearer in my thoughts. This confirms to me yet again the obvious; that the schools that protect time to talk about talking about teaching and learning provide the conditions for good ideas to ‘filter to the top’.
What I am discovering in my work?
Over the last 2 or 3 years, I have witnessed many schools switch to a ‘feedback’ policy, but I believe I am now in a position to move these policies one step further. The range of marking/feedback types (may) now reach fourteen variations…
In the fascinating paper, Can Feedback Improve Teaching? (Coe, 2006), sixteen types of influences are cited. Many teachers will be familiar that the type of task matters, as well as if feedback is positive or negative, immediate or delayed and general or specific, but just take a look at all the other types listed.
- The characteristic of the task, and any distinction between motivation and effort and its links to performance.
- How feedback is presented; especially goal-setting
- Ego-involvement (E.g. competition)
- Norm-referenced and self-referenced
- Informational or controlling
- Positive or negative feedback
- Timing (immediate or delayed)
- General or focused
- Credibility (containing accurate information)
- Level of involvement
- Self-efficacy and self-esteem
- Attributions for success and failure
- The differences between individuals and their expectations
- Achievement orientation and,
- Receptiveness and performance adequacy.
If you reread over your feedback policy, how many of these influences are factored into the policy?
I’ve read over 200 school and college teaching and learning policies. Very few, if any at all, go into this type of depth for consideration. This is not to suggest, that any teaching and learning policy has to include incredible detail or an endless list of research-informed influences. Even if we consider feedback, feed-up and feed-forward, here are 3 things all schools that have a ‘feedback’ policy can change from tomorrow.
If you are a school leader reading this and you’re currently working on revising your teaching and learning policy, I am more than happy to give it a once over and provide general feedback.
I’d like to see if I could help you be one of the first schools I have ever worked with, to move away from a generic feedback policy, to something altogether quite refined.
Possibly something that would see the school in the 2030s…