Administration & Leadership

Providing Teachers With Feedback That Fosters Growth

Effective, actionable feedback encourages teachers and ultimately leads to stronger classroom performance.

November 16, 2023
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Feedback is fundamental to any growth-oriented system. Teachers derive immense value from receiving feedback on their teaching practices. Providing teachers with feedback is not about criticism but rather about fostering professional development, improving teaching methodologies, and ultimately enhancing the quality of education. Giving teachers feedback is essential and contributes to the overall advancement of the education system.

Feedback catalyzes continuous improvement. Constructive input helps teachers identify areas where they excel and aspects that need refinement. By acknowledging their strengths and recognizing areas for growth, teachers can fine-tune their teaching methods and consistently strive for excellence.

When administrators intentionally provide feedback to educators, it boosts teachers’ confidence and ability as well as student learning. Remember these five “Be” statements to provide impactful feedback.

The 5 ‘Be’ Statements for Better Feedback

1. Be specific. Feedback should not sugarcoat or exaggerate the strengths or weaknesses of the individual. It should be candid and truthful, avoiding misleading or overly positive language. Specific feedback is concrete, addressing particular actions, behaviors, or outcomes. Vague or generalized feedback is less helpful because it doesn’t provide clear guidance for improvement. Realistic feedback is based on observable and verifiable evidence. It should draw from specific examples and situations rather than making assumptions or generalizations.

2. Be realistic. Feedback should focus on what can be changed or enhanced. Realistic feedback is essential for personal and professional growth. It helps individuals understand their strengths and weaknesses, make informed decisions, and take steps to improve their performance.

Giving realistic feedback means providing feedback that is honest, accurate, and based on objective observations. This feedback should reflect the performance or behavior of the person receiving the feedback.

3. Be timely. Feedback is most valuable when it’s provided close in time to the event or behavior being assessed. Timely feedback is more likely to be relevant and specific, as both the giver and the recipient have a fresh memory of the situation. When feedback is given promptly, individuals have a better opportunity to learn from their actions and make necessary adjustments. This helps in preventing the repetition of mistakes and encourages continuous improvement.

4. Be consistent. Consistent feedback helps establish clear expectations and standards for performance or behavior. When feedback is provided regularly and uniformly, individuals know what is expected of them and can work toward meeting those expectations. Consistency in feedback promotes fairness and equality. It ensures that everyone is held to the same standards and treated equally, reducing the potential for bias or favoritism in evaluations.

Providing consistent feedback holds individuals accountable for their actions and performance. It reinforces the idea that continuous improvement and adherence to standards are ongoing responsibilities.

5. Be actionable. Giving actionable feedback means providing feedback that is specific, clear, and practical, enabling the recipient to take specific steps to improve their performance or behavior. Actionable feedback should help the individual understand what they need to do differently and how to do it. This feedback should address particular actions, behaviors, or outcomes. It avoids vague or general statements and provides precise details about what was done well or what needs improvement.

Delivering feedback respectfully and constructively with the intent of supporting the teacher’s growth and improvement is key. Your feedback can be a valuable resource for educators looking to enhance their teaching methods and create a more effective learning experience for students. Below are some examples to help calibrate your practice.

  • “Your use of real-life examples in lessons helps students understand the material better. You create a supportive and inclusive classroom environment where everyone feels valued.”
  • “Some students may benefit from additional practice exercises to reinforce the concepts you’ve taught.”
  • “Please consider addressing off-topic conversations to maintain a focused learning environment.”
  • “I’ve noticed that some students struggle to stay engaged during longer lectures. Perhaps more interactive activities could help.”
  • “Consider using rubrics to make your grading criteria more transparent.”

Remember to concentrate feedback on the behavior, not the person. Open conversation by stating the behavior or instructional move observed. End with what you want to see moving forward. This model enables you to avoid sounding accusatory by using “I” and focusing on behaviors instead of assumed interpretations.

Feedback fosters a culture of collaboration and open communication among teachers. When colleagues share insights and observations, it creates an environment where educators learn from each other’s successes and challenges. This collaborative atmosphere fuels professional growth and the exchange of innovative teaching strategies.

Constructive feedback helps teachers identify areas where they can grow professionally. Whether it’s refining classroom management skills, incorporating technology effectively, or fostering better student engagement, feedback guides teachers toward targeted areas of improvement.

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