In Feedback and Professional Development

Constructive feedback strengthens working relationships because the overall intent is positive.   The Ladder of Feedback is a structure that helps establish a culture of trust and support through constructive feedback.  Therefore,  it can be used as a guide for classroom observation or group discussion to encourage collaboration and improve teacher practice.

The Ladder of Feedback has four intuitive but not simple steps; begin at the bottom and climb up the ladder through each step.


Make sure that you are clear about what is trying to be achieved within the lesson.  Clarify first by asking questions to ensure you understand the situation and make any assumptions known.  Try to avoid giving any feedback at this stage.

To do this well leaders have to discipline themselves to ask genuine, positively framed questions of clarification whilst resisting the impulse to translate their scepticism into question form.

Examples: ‘When might this take effect?”  “Would you mind outlining the current situation.”  “What would qualify as good practice?” 


Valuing people and their ideas is important.  Emphasising positive points, helps to create a supportive environment and build a culture of trust and understanding.  When used well, it could help your colleague to identify strengths in their work that they might not have recognised otherwise.

What do you see in your colleague’s work that is particularly impressive or strong?  Express what you like about a specific idea or situation in a positive tone and offer honest compliments – this is fundamental to the process of constructive feedback.

Examples ‘What do you like about this idea?”   ‘I think this could make a real difference, if we…”


Raise your concerns as honest thoughts and information, using qualified terms.  Avoid criticising personal character or ability but focus on the specific situation or task.

Examples: “A concern I have is that this may be complex to implement, how might we address this?”  “A question this raised for me was” “Observing the class made me more aware of”


Do you have suggestions about how to address the concerns that have been identified and raised?  Help your colleague make improvements or refine their lesson by offering constructive feedback and suggestions about how they might change things moving forward.  You can also put forward ideas that could be used in the next lesson or how they might build on students work.

Examples; “I am concerned that this idea doesn’t align with our current strategy and may blow our budget, so perhaps you could suggest how we address this?”  “it might be interesting to follow up on…”

Feedback is the driving force behind professional development in so many industries. Now with the help of Educator Impact it is fast becoming normal practice in the education sector for Teachers and Leaders also.


For more information about Educator Impact, or to learn more about how we combine our 360-degree teacher feedback, self-reflection, evidence-based goal setting and evaluation functions into one streamlined tool, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

Ref:  Scala, D, 2016,  Adapted from Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2009

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