Have you recently given someone observation feedback? Did you feel like you motivated your colleague and inspired them to try different teaching methods?
If you've ever been on the receiving end of poor feedback then you'll know how unhelpful it is. Feedback is highly personal and can either make or break a situation. According to Professor John Hattie, receiving effective feedback is the factor that has the most impact on a student’s progress. This can also be applied to a teachers’ professional development (PD), making it one of the most important aspects of PD.
So, to get the most out of observation feedback, you should always be looking for better ways to give it, whether formally or informally. Here are 6 tips...
6 tips for improving observation feedback
1. Capture your lesson
Whether you’re being observed or observing someone else, video can be an objective tool for you both, allowing you to have a two way discussion rather than just a feedback session. Reviewing the video together means you can actively discuss, pause, rewind, fast-forward and allow your colleague to come to their own conclusions, making it more meaningful for you both.
2. Use exploratory questioning
This type of questioning naturally opens up dialogue, giving you time to think and draw conclusions. For example, try saying: “What do you think you could do to tackle the problem of…” rather than “What you need to do is…”!
3. Make feedback constructive
Even if a lesson doesn't go to plan, the situation can be turned into a positive one if you give the teacher constructive feedback and help them to learn from the situation. Constructive feedback helps identify solutions for areas of weakness by looking at what can be improved rather than focusing on what went wrong.
4. Relate back to previous objectives set
Always keep a clear focus in mind. Relate your discussion to the targets already set, if new topics arise; set these as development targets for your next session. Staying focused will allow you to give some ‘easy wins’; developing a feeling of immediate progression. Be clear in your own mind about why you are feeding back. What exactly do you want your colleague to achieve with what you are telling them?
5. Be patient
Give you and your colleague time to draw your own conclusions and then explore them together without cutting across one another. You will develop a stronger, more professional relationship.
6. Do it again!
Whether giving or receiving observation feedback, do it again and regularly. Only by continually discussing and breaking down what you both saw can you understand progression.