We know that to improve teaching practice, feedback is essential. But why do so many of us struggle to implement an effective feedback program? In the education sector, it is widely believed that feedback is the most powerful tool for improving teaching practice and effectiveness, but if it is facilitated incorrectly it can often do more harm than good. Here are three common feedback mistakes that occur when introducing feedback.
Only one voice
Many schools currently only see school and teacher performance reviews that have been conducted by large, centralised institutions, rather than individuals close to the source. While feedback from governing bodies is essential, a study produced by Grattan Institute revealed that when schools implement their own feedback system based on a balanced scorecard approach, teacher effectiveness can improve by as much as 30%.
A 360-degree teacher feedback program incorporates student feedback, peer observation and self-reflection, and enables teachers to set evidence-based developmental goals to support their ongoing learning and growth. Insight from different groups within the school may highlight your blind spots and illuminate your undervalued strengths, allowing you to adapt to working more successfully with different groups within the school environment.
The New Year’s resolution theory: too vague, too big, too irregular & no accountability
Psychology Professor John Norcross from the University of Scranton suggests that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals and resolutions. Shocking, isn’t it? His study found that common reasons for failure included the goals being too big, too vague and were set over 365 days, rather than intermittent periods of time with continual reassessment. The same mistakes are often made with many feedback systems, in particularly those not facilitated with programs created on evidence-based, peer-reviewed academic research.
As educators, our professional goals should be based on the feedback we receive from our school leaders, colleagues and students. The feedback should be segmented in accordance with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers so our follow up goal setting is concise and relative. Educator Impact’s feedback program removes vague and overstated feedback/goal setting by providing a structured system that focuses on the improvement of the following individual competencies:
- managing the classroom
- setting objectives
- calibrating difficulty
- driving surface and deep learning
- providing feedback to students
- building relevance
- communicating effectively
- developing relationships
Regular peer and leader observation is often the driving force you need to keep you accountable to achieve your individual teaching goals. Once observations have concluded and you have received the first round of feedback, lock in a date a few months away for re-observation. Any deadline will keep you focused and motivated to improve within a specific timeframe.
Free is not always best
Think of the free version of a common educational App. It may give you access to the App’s basic features, but it is no secret that you will never realise the App’s full data-collecting potential by using the free version. And, let’s not get started on the fact it is riddled with cheap, irrelevant advertisements.
Try to not choose your school’s feedback model by only looking at cost. Instead, think of the benefits a high-quality system can provide you, especially those that come with a bank of resources, predetermined surveys, professional development plans and self-reflecting and goal setting guides.
Feedback is the driving force behind professional development in so many industries and now with the help of Educator Impact it is fast becoming normal practice in the education sector also.
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