What are the best ways to give effective lesson feedback?
Feedback can be stressful for all of us. As observers, we need to provide feedback in a timely, supportive and effective manner.
Lesson observations, learning walks, team teaching – all things that can strike fear into the heart of a teacher. However we phrase it, the thought of an observer coming into a classroom often makes people nervous, regardless of how friendly the face is. In order to make the whole experience more supportive and beneficial for a teacher, we need to make sure that we give effective lesson feedback that is delivered in a timely and professional manner. This way, teachers need not fear the whole process and instead start to see the benefits.
Here are 5 tips for delivering effective lesson feedback to the teachers in your team:
1. Be prompt
Feedback only works if it is given quickly, as it loses its meaning otherwise. If a teacher has made a mistake, they need to be told as soon as possible post lesson so they can fix it. Furthermore, if someone has tried something new and it really worked, they need to know so they can continue their good work!
2. Pick a place and time that is convenient for the teacher being observed
Giving feedback can be awkward, for both the teacher and the observer. Finding a place where you both feel comfortable is important, especially if the conversation is confidential. Ask in advance when they would like feedback and where they would like to be. I’ve seen colleagues receiving feedback in a busy corridor- never a good thing! Also make sure you are not going to be disturbed – a sign on the door usually gets the message across.
3. Avoid certain questions
‘How do you think that went?’ used to fill me with dread. What if I thought it went well and my colleague didn’t? What if I wasn’t pleased with it and I’ve now influenced the person watching to think the same? Try a different tact, such as ‘What are you planning to do next in the lesson sequence?’ This allows the teacher to talk without fear of judgement.
4. Have a framework
Your school may have a feedback template that it uses- make sure you stick to it! It helps you stay on topic and structure the conversation, so both you and the teacher get the most out of it. If there is no template, suggest that to your head.
5. Use clear time frames
Arrange to come back if a teacher wants you to see something, or you missed it in the original lesson. If you have given a specific improvement, give the teacher time to implement it in the classroom. Make the schedule clear – when will the next observation be and what will you be looking out for?
Why not try some of these tips next time you are giving feedback to to make it as effective as possible?