The school leader provides feedback based on a targeted focus a teacher and school leader has decided upon. The feedback is a method of professional support that is actionable, evidence-based, and situated within a larger context of professional learning.
When school leaders effectively structure their feedback to teachers, they empower teachers to make immediate, specific improvements to their instructional practice. The primary purpose of an ongoing classroom observation is not to judge the quality of teachers, but to find the most effective way to support teachers’ growth. Targeted feedback is a way to support this kind of teacher growth. These are the three characteristics of effective feedback to teachers. When providing feedback, effective leaders:
The most effective feedback for teachers is based on the meaningful interaction between the educator and school leader and among teachers (Fullan, 2013). Targeted feedback is effective when it is situated within a specific context and is in reference to a larger conversation about the teacher’s practice. The feedback is based on a specific area of focus they are working on in relation to the needs of their students. The research on adult learning shows that when teachers have choice and ownership around what specific practice they choose, the more they will implement feedback they are given. When the feedback is not connected to a teacher’s ongoing practice, the teacher cannot move forward in their practice.
When a school leader takes a strengths-based stance, they recognize and articulate what the teacher is doing well already, and start from this place to provide feedback. They choose one part of practice to focus on, not several since this is targeted. The feedback is based on what the teacher is on the verge of doing independently and immediately within their practice.
Instead of implying a deficit or corrective perspective that concentrates on what the teacher lacks or should fix, this stance assumes the teacher is capable of improving their instructional practice.
When providing feedback, the school leader can focus the conversation on evidence of student learning, teaching practice and content based on classroom visits. This is a conversation situated in the instructional core. The core looks at different parts of the classroom: what is the task students are asked to do, how is the student’s role changing as the learner, and how is the teacher’s role influencing the student’s role. Research on the instructional core shows that student learning happens when a teacher’s knowledge, skill and content improves (City, Elmore, Fiarman & Teitel, 2009). Targeted feedback is a way to support an increase in a teacher’s knowledge and skill.
This past month, I know you have been working on increasing the rigor of student talk in your classroom when discussing fiction, and you have asked for my support.
I noticed that when you first modeled a “think aloud” of how you found the theme within a passage from the novel and then asked students to model their thinking with each other, three students were able to then model their thinking to their partners in a similar way about another passage. I also noticed you provided a graphic organizer with examples of themes that you and the class have filled out over time, and this resulted in students using these ideas in their conversations. School leader asks the teacher about any reflections they have about their own practice and ideas about next steps in their practice. Based on what the teacher says, the school leader could offer an additional next step.
Keep up the intentional work you are doing. For next steps with increasing rigor in student talk, what if you provided the students with sentence stems that could guide them in their conversations about finding the theme within a passage?
The following articles support the research on what makes feedback effective. The combination of using a strengths-based stance along with sharing evidence within a larger context is a way to support teachers in improving their practice.
The items in this following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. An educator will need to receive a passing evaluation for Part 1 and a “Yes” on all three parts of the rubric for Part 2 to earn the micro-credential.
Choose a teacher you would like to work with and give feedback to in order to improve instructional practice. You will provide an overview of the teacher to whom you provided feedback. Answer the following questions.
Please submit a video of you giving feedback to a teacher based on their specific focus.
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