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Classroom Environment Tip #7: Honest Feedback

Classroom Environment Tip #7: Honest Feedback

Improves performance Mode Objectivity Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Ken Blanchard Some people dislike feedback and avoid it like the plague. If someone offers a pointer or critical remark, they fly into a rage. Others take feedback as a challenge, turning any comments or critiques into an opportunity to argue the finer points of objectivity versus subjectivity and splitting hairs over inferential thinking. Yet others deflect feedback back onto the speaker, believing that their own performance is so inherently powerful that the tips and tidbits are more reflective of the speaker’s deficiencies than their own. People avoid feedback for many reasons. The most simple and common reason is that some people simply hate criticism. Maybe it’s tied back to critical comments heard during their childhood or a traumatic emotional experience. When we run from feedback, maladaptive behaviors begin to manifest. People begin to procrastinate, brood, deny, or even self-sabotage in an effort to avoid negative feedback. When people know their performance is deficient but fear seeking assistance, the problem rarely fixes itself. This type of behavior is highly detrimental to students. Classrooms are a natural place for students make mistakes. Teachers spend a good portion of each day pushing them to do things they can’t do on their own. Students are stretched beyond their natural talents and wealth of knowledge and the resulting discomfort generates great gains. A part of this process, however, is feedback. Teachers should be very intentional with how and when they provide their students with critical remarks about their progress in the learning. (Top) Improves performance Some teachers shy away from feedback because they… Read More »
The need for purposefulness in instructional coaching

The need for purposefulness in instructional coaching

Purposefulness Look fors A central tenet of instructional coaching is to always be purposeful. Learning does not happen by accident, either for students or teachers. If there is an instructional target for a lesson, it must be abundantly clear to everyone involved. Not doing so often leads to minimal or disastrous results. Recently I was in an elementary language arts classroom. In the midst of independent student work, the teacher engaged me in a conversation about her students’ writing. While her students wrote fluently, they rarely used punctuation. She showed me sample after sample of student compositions that rambled without any sentence boundaries whatsoever. She wanted to know if I had any ideas about how to get her students to write with punctuation.  After probing the subject briefly, I realized that the teacher needed more than a suggestion or tip. She had tried everything she could think of and nothing seemed to work. For this situation, we determined that a modeled lesson would be most effective. We set up a day and time the following week for me to return with a 45-minute lesson. I created my lesson plan using a gradual release model and sent it to the teacher. I itched to deliver a powerful lesson, educating both the teacher and the students on the intricacies of subjects, predicates, and punctuation. Ordering my thoughts, I made an anchor chart for student reference. I did everything I needed to do except for the most important part – set a purpose for the teacher. (Top) Purposefulness I waltzed into the classroom the following week with my PowerPoint and my anchor… Read More »

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