Monday, September 15, 2014

Specific Feedback + Self-Reflection

This post corresponds to day #14 of the +TeachThought 30-day blogging challenge, focused on reflective teaching through blogging.  Interested in joining the challenge?  It's not too late! 

Feedback is an important part of learning. It's helpful to know some information about where you're at in relation to a goal you're working to achieve.

As a technology integration specialist, the ways I give feedback to students often take place during the learning activity at hand. The standards I'm focused on are the ISTE Standards for Students, and I strive to give specific feedback that gets to the process students use to accomplish a task...for example, "The ways you chose to communicate your message are very clear to the audience, " or, "You might want to re-visit your plan for this activity to make sure it successfully leads to a solution."

I also try to use a lot of inquiry-based dialogue with students to encourage self-reflection and to help them make their own decisions on where to go next with their learning, "how do you know this information is correct?" "what else could you do to make sure your message is clear to the audience?" or simply, "what's your next step?".

When I talk with teachers after lessons and they ask for my feedback, I try to employ the same techniques. I give specific feedback from my point of view about the process or aspects of the lesson and how they aligned with the ISTE Standards for Teachers, and I also ask questions that encourage self-reflection.  I have found that teachers are incredibly reflective practitioners, and many times their reflections lead to conversations around successes from this lesson to repeat in future lessons, and new ideas or avenues to explore for next time.

All in all, I try to stay very positive, yet honest, with the feedback I give. I also strive to ask others for feedback on my role in their lessons and activities and I engage in collaborative brainstorms and trouble-shooting sessions regularly.  In my opinion, feedback and self-reflection, in combination with a plan of action for next time, help to ensure that a process, lesson, or activity will continue to improve. If we model this for our students, they are sure to notice and follow suit!