24 Mar Constructive Feedback as an Effective Improvement Effort
Imagine, you are a teacher who teaches in a class. During the teaching, your school principal is attending the class because he is observing the teaching and learning activities.
At the end of the activity, you ask for any comment, input or feedback from the principal. “How was my teaching? Was it good?”
Your school principal replies, “The way you teach was good, just need a little bit of improvement!”
What do you have in mind after hearing the answer? Maybe you are will feel anxious or confused.
Which part or what needs to be improved from my teaching performance? Is it my ability to master the material? Is it the way I communicate with students? Or, maybe there is something wrong with the way I dress? Then you feel such feedbackfrom the school principal seems not helping at all.
Giving a Proper Feedback
A feedback will be more useful if it can be clearly understood by the recipient. Hence, the recipient of can make improvements or specific actions to have a more effective process next time.
Giving improper feedback will cause problems. The recipient of the feedback can experience trauma, feeling judged, or even create negative stigma when it comes to any ‘feedback’. Therefore, it is important for a School Principal (or a leader of organization) to master the technique or method on how to give a proper feedback.
A teacher really needs feedback from the school principal to improve his teaching quality. Constructive feedback is delivered using positive technique, for it will very affect teachers’ participation in succeeding school programs.
A study involving 22,719 leaders shows that feedback can potentially improve team participation and engagement in implementing programs and achieving objectives (forbes.com). The top 10% has a level of participation from the subordinates as much as 77% when feedback is given in a polite and constructive way. In contrast, the lowest 10% gets only 25% participation because of the wrong way.
5 Effective Steps to Give Constructive Feedback
The school principal can use these methods when giving feedback to the teachers in order to have positive impact for the sake of mutual progress.
- Referring to a certain time
Explain precisely when the feedback is intended. Is it when he starts the lesson? When giving instructions? Or, when explaining material? This will help teachers recall their teaching activities and pay attention to your explanation more carefully.
- “When you ask students to read together …”
- “When you started explaining the material …”
- “When you read the questions and give instructions …”
- Describe the action taken
Explain the actions done by the teacher on the point you want to leave a comment on. What was the teacher talking about? Which activity do you mean? Which activities are you referring to so that something happens during teaching?
- “I observed you only sit in your chair in front of the class.”
- “I noticed that you only read books without seeing the reactions of the children.”
- “I listen to your intonation, it was too fast and there is no repetition.”
- Explain the impact
Give an idea of what the consequences will be if the teacher does certain actions. Will the impact be bad? Are there results that are not as expected? Or, are there other consequences of these actions?
- “Some students at the back are joking around with student next to them when another student is reading out”
- “Some students going in and out of the class for several minutes; yet, you do nothing about it.”
- “Some students asked their left and right friends many times because they can’t hear clearly.”
- Describe the context
To elaborate more deeply on the actions intended when giving feedback. You can specifically explain some of the main problem on how an impact could occur. This will help teachers to understand which activities needs improvement, and which ones do not.
- “Why do you prefer to always stand or sit in front of the class?”
- “Why do you prefer to read out on your own rather than invite students to read it out?”
- “What makes you give instruction only once when you are about to give the students some exercises?”
- Plan a follow-up improvement
This step is very important so that teachers do not make the same mistakes. In addition, teachers get practical action solutions that can later be applied when there is another chance. You can encourage teachers to find the right solution themselves by giving a few key questions, not instructing authoritatively to the teacher.
- “What can be done for each student to get your attention although they sit in the back?”
- “What if you go around the class, to the very back of the class, when a student read out something to ensure that other students listen carefully?”
- “What if each student only read out 3 sentences and other students continue to read out so that all students will have to pay attention to the reading?”
If one day you have a chance to give feedback, remember to apply these 5 steps. Hopefully, the teachers who get feedback with this positive way can improve more effectively. There is neither confusion nor problem. Feedback becomes a fun activity.
Practice of Giving Feedback in Workshop
We have applied this material in the third workshop session last September. In this Feedback session, the following are the 4 main activities within 120 minutes:
- Provide written feedback based on video (40 minutes)
- Participants watch the teacher learning video and take notes on any points to be discussed on feedback
- Participants write down the feedback they want to give to the observed teacher using direct sentences
- Participants are divided into two large groups, and the two groups exchange their written feedback
- Participants discuss within their group to categorize the feedback, which ones are useful for the teacher’s improvement and which ones are not
- Participants identify factors that make feedback useful in improving teacher’s teaching
2. Discussion on giving effective feedback (10 minutes)
- Relate any identified factors by previous participants to one of the steps in giving effective feedback (refers to infographics)
3. Role playing to give effective feedback (50 minutes)
- Form a group of 3 people, with the role of 1 Principal, 1 teacher and 1 observer.
- Principal: provides constructive feedback
- Teacher: become the teacher in the video
- Observer: observes the process of giving feedback
- By using the video previously played, give it a chance for each group to discuss on how they will give feedback to teachers so they can teach better.
- Give 15 minutes for each group to role play so that all participants experience giving feedback.
- Ask what each role feels:
Observer: “What point you should pay attention to during the process of giving feedback?”
Principal: “What is the easiest or most difficult thing when giving feedback?” Teacher: “Does feedback help to change teaching practices to be better?”
4. Developing a feedback plan (10 minutes)
- Give participants the opportunity to write notes/bullet points how they will deliver effective feedback to the teacher during learning process.
- These notes will guide the KS in giving effective feedback to the teacher.
5. Reflection session (10 minutes)
- Ask participants why giving feedback is important to do, and how the steps are in giving an effective feedback for teacher.
- Discuss the most difficult feedback step and what can be done to facilitate
Lesson learnt of Feedback Session
From the implementation of this session, we found the following lesson learnt:
- Participants are used to giving or getting general feedback such as “The learning is good, but it can be improved further”,so many have not felt the benefits of giving feedback from KS
- Feedback is still considered as a criticism of other people’s work, so participants often feel reluctant to give feedback and tend to provide general feedback to avoid conflict. This can be avoided by describing the facts in accordance with the Step to Giving Effective Feedback (infographics)
- Principals who believe their pedagogical knowledge is less than their teachers are feeling unconfident in giving feedback because they are afraid of being wrong. Whereas, giving feedback can be done by having a discussion so that a solution can emerge from such discussion (see step five of giving an effective feedback)
Author: Masdar Fahmi
Editor: Cici T. Wanita