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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Teaching Challenge: The Feedback Loop

Feedback is essential to good coaching and teaching.

How can we provide feedback in timely, inspiring, and motivating ways?

Sitting next to a box full of student work, I'm wondering about the ways that I can make a more effective loop of regular feedback.

First, what are the challenges?
  • Little to no time during the school day so it's all after hours work.
  • It's laborious to review a large number of same assignments.
  • Each paper/assignment takes a lot of analysis, thought to really cull good information, add helpful comments, and inform future learning.
  • There is a great deal of variability with student performance and need, thus the response needed is daunting at times.
  • Students often pass in work at different times with some finishing ahead, some on time, and some after the assignment is due.
What's worked so far?
  • When an assignment is interesting, I'm eager to assess.
  • Feedback as part of student-teacher coaching is the best. It's great to sit with a child or team of students and provide helpful and motivating feedback.
  • When students receive thoughtful feedback, their investment, effort, and care increases right away.
A Plan:
  • Provide individual feedback to one meaningful assignment, project, or assessment each week for each child. I can do that if the assignment is well designed and all children pass it in on time.
  • Create better routines for assignment collection and completion. 
  • Scaffold feedback for other assignments including the following steps:
    • Student assesses his/her own work.
    • Student shares work w/classmate who provides an assessment based on one or two focus questions/areas.
    • When possible, meet face-to-face with students about once a week to provide feedback.
Right Now:
  • Tomorrow I'll pass back students' homework assignments and recent assessments that have comments and feedback.
  • I'll explain my goals for feedback and why I've made those goals.
  • I'll ask for their suggestions and thoughts.
  • I'll design the rubric, self reflection template and peer reflection template for students' current project, the Fraction Compare Teaching Posters
Teaching-In, focusing on the microsphere of classroom work, requires attention to feedback. I sense that feedback is a struggle for most teachers since most teachers are responsible for planning multiple lessons a week and providing feedback for assignments with relatively little time.

What does your feedback loop look like? How do you manage that? What benefits does your feedback loop provide to your students? What challenges do you face in this regard? 

In the weeks ahead, I'll challenge myself to develop this area of my craft.