This week, our independent study task involved watching a few videos about feedback and communication skills in the classroom to help us improve upon the way we used these.
Evaluation and feedback are very important aspects of teaching. They are effective tools for improving teaching practice and pupils’ classroom performance. In order to move forward and improve we must first identify the areas which need to be developed.
Self-Evaluation and Receiving Criticism
One teacher from Iowa in the US records all of her lessons in order to reflect upon her teaching. She acknowledges that there is a difference between how teachers view their practice and the reality of it. The views of teachers themselves, students and other professionals may all differ, illustrating the importance of using recordings, collegial/peer assessment and student surveys to ensure comments are received from these various different perspectives.
Another video also highlighted that getting the opinion of more than one person can be useful as each person may see things differently. It is also helpful for two colleagues to assess one person as this can be used to ensure that each of the observers’ assessments are in line with their organisation’s policy.
According to Cottrell constructive criticism should be:
One of the most important aspects highlighted here is the need for balance in criticism. Criticism should be neither entirely positive or entirely negative. In any task, there are always things that people have done well and always ways that things can be improved. One issue I have always had when giving peer feedback is being so conscious of not coming across as mean or nasty when discussing aspects that could be improved upon that the point is missed entirely. However, points for improvement are one of the most important parts of feedback as teachers should constantly be re-evaluating and developing their practice and feedback shows them where to focus their efforts.
There is a clear difference between feedback and judgement. Feedback, as highlighted through all of the individuals questioned in the videos, should always contain positives and should be seen as a starting point for improvement rather than a means of criticising.
Feedback is important but as is self-confidence and kindness.