Saturday, January 7, 2012

Feedback Month - One Week Recap

After one week of promoting the use of descriptive feedback, both in my own school and through social media, I thought it would be useful to pause and "check-in". So far in the school this week Dani and I have:
  • Visited every period one class to explain descriptive feedback and encourage its use
  • Run a series of "Feedback Month" PA announcements
  • Shared the Hattie article with interested staff via email and paper copies left in staff room, and
  • Shared the Paterson blog on feedback via email (though in BC with the labour dispute we know staff "need not" read any of it)
  • Shared my own blog through email. Favorite teacher comment so far: "Wow, you can really get lost in there." I think it was as much about quantity as quality, but I found it amusing.
  • Left a new message on the staff room whiteboard each day mentioning Feedback Month with some information intended to encourage and/or clarify descriptive feedback
  • Engaged in more than ten quick conversations about feedback and Feedback Month with individual staff, and engaged in a few more that were somewhat longer and more detailed
Participation in social media has also been worthwhile. It is great to know that there are other educators "out there" who are interested in instructional practices and also want to encourage descriptive feedback in their classrooms. So far this week we have:
  • Sent 28 "Tweets" encouraging or promoting descriptive feedback and the concept of "January 2012 is Feedback Month"
  • Seen or received at least that many "Tweets", "Retweets", "Mentions" of this idea on Twitter, as well as about 20 message exchanges
  • Feedback Month was promoted on our official LCSS Facebook page. Coming up: chance for prizes!
  • Posted the first blog entry on Feedback Month, and now a second one. 
  • Received three excellent blog entries from other educators regarding feedback - See bottom of page
If I were to have intentions for all this, it would be pretty simple. First, just talking about instruction and learning is a healthy and enjoyable process on many, many levels, and I need to continue doing what I can to keep those conversations going in my own school and beyond. Second, the research I keep reading, whether from the Hattie study or the work of Mike Schmoeker or whatever it may be, dovetails with my own observations on this small piece that makes a phenomenal difference: If a teacher who has given instruction and students have started to engage in individual or small group seat work, then makes the effort to circulate, check for understanding, and give out those quick but specific details to affirm or guide the students' practice, learning improves drastically. 

That's pretty much it.

If you are a part of the LCSS community, I hope this explains or adds to your understanding of what is going on. If you are an educator "out there" I hope this helps you to encourage the use of feedback in your school or classroom. As I mentioned in one of my "Tweets" (note that I keep putting quotes around that term - is it really an accepted word yet?) you can go big with this process, or you can simply just start a conversation. Every change, big or small, begins somewhere.

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