Teach­ing feed­back vi­tal

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - @SCHOOL -

YOUNG peo­ple spend 13 years in a for­mal school set­ting where they are reg­u­larly as­sessed on what they have learned.

Stu­dent as­sess­ments are about know­ing what the stu­dent can and can’t do at a par­tic­u­lar point in time.

How­ever, as­sess­ments can also pro­vide good teach­ers with valu­able in­sights into their own abil­ity.

They should lead to teach­ers ask­ing them­selves ques­tions about their own prac­tice: what does the stu­dent un­der­stand? What do I need to spend more time on? What hasn’t worked for them? What do I need to change to sup­port this stu­dent?

We don’t of­ten see as­sess­ments in this light be­cause too much em­pha­sis is placed on eval­u­at­ing stu­dents’ learn­ing and not the teacher’s teach­ing.

It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that good teach­ers not only teach, they learn as well. They are con­tin­u­ally learn­ing about their stu­dents’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties as well as their own in or­der to in­form their fu­ture les­son plan­ning.

Just as teach­ers pro­vide stu­dents feed­back as part of their learn­ing, teach­ers also need to re­ceive reg­u­lar feed­back. In the in­dus­trial model of school­ing this does not come nat­u­rally be­cause teach­ers are seen to be the author­ity in learn­ing.

Feed­back should not be seen as some­thing to beat teach­ers over the head with, rather, it is about work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively for con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment.

For ex­am­ple, teach­ers can start ask­ing stu­dents if their les­son was en­gag­ing or if they could have ap­proached it in a dif­fer­ent way.

I even know of some teach­ers who have in­tro­duced an emoti­con sys­tem for stu­dents to in­di­cate how well they un­der­stood the les­son.

This level of feed­back re­quires build­ing a cul­ture of trust and open­ness be­tween the stu­dent and teacher and re­quires a ma­ture work­force who un­der­stand the value of con­struc­tive feed­back.

When we are com­mit­ted to ask­ing ques­tions about ‘‘how can we do this bet­ter?’’, we are help­ing to cre­ate a cul­ture where ev­ery­one is fo­cused on im­prov­ing.

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