I have my feedback. Now what?
How many times throughout your career has somebody given you feedback that you never acted on? Don’t worry, I guarantee you are not the only one. And, do you want the good news? If the feedback system didn’t require you to set personal goals, you are not totally to blame.
To be effective, it is imperative your feedback system is inclusive of self-reflection, goal setting, professional development and re-evaluation at regular intervals; with a main focus on the achievement of an individual’s teaching or leadership goals. Educator Impact recommends the following four, researched-based phases of post-feedback action.
Without feedback, we may never know there is a more effective way of doing something. Feedback provides an opportunity for you to learn about what is working well and how you can do something more effectively. Remember, feedback should not be taken personally, so don’t get flustered if you don’t agree with some of the results. Instead, take a few minutes to reflect on what you have read and ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my strengths and my weaknesses?
- What am I disappointed about?
- What am I happy about?
- What can I do to improve?
Always look at feedback data with an open mind, the same way you would reflect on a recipe used to create a new dish. If the meal turned out bland, what would you do next time to make it better? Would you add or substitute ingredients? Most likely.
Adding extra ‘ingredients’ to your practice could include targeted professional development (PD), extra research on a competency or mentoring with a trusted peer.
Post-feedback goal setting will allow you to connect with colleagues, trusted peers, mentors or coaches to share ideas and insights. If your school allows you to team up with someone of your choosing, pick somebody you can feel vulnerable with, as you must be comfortable opening up to this person.
The data collected throughout the feedback process should highlight competencies of the professional teacher standards where your intent may not match your impact. This is the data to draw goal-setting inspiration from.
For a goal to be successful, it is widely believed it must be a S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) goal. When picking your goal, keep in mind:
- Goals you have set in the past that can be built on or extrapolated
- Key areas for development where improvement will yield an increase in impact on your students
- A clear end date for achieving your goal
A professional development plan should be the outcome of your 360-degree feedback, self-reflection and goal setting. Whether you are a graduate or a school executive, professional development (PD) is regularly undertaken in order to develop new skills and fine-tune existing practices. In this day and age, educators have access to a smorgasbord of choice when it comes to providers of high quality PD. You should have no problem finding PD to suit your goal’s objectives.
When you decide on your goal, you should set yourself a timeframe to achieve your goal before re-observation. This is crucial for your success as it keeps you motivated and accountable. Typically, 3-6 months from the date the goal was set is a good time to reassess and start the 360-degree feedback phase again.
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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