Feedback – Staff vs Students

Chris Lehmann blogged on giving teachers feedback today:

I wanted to give feedback to teachers in a way that was productive, useful, manageable, and as non-judgemental as possible.

This is not the first time I have noticed how careful we are with teacher feedback. “Non-judgemental” jumped out at me. Why are we so careful? Probably because we respect the struggle of our colleagues in their learning. Learning to teach is complex. Learning to manage behaviour is complex. Learning to motivate is a job never entirely done. For every imperfection we see in the work of colleagues, we know of another imperfection in our own practice. When we offer advice, we often do it humbled by the knowledge that there is something they do far better than we do it ourselves.

However, giving feedback to students is often such a “cut and dried” process. Judgement is usually there, along with being manageable. As to productivity and usefulness, I’m not always convinced. If we give our students learning tasks that are complex enough to really challenge them, shouldn’t we be viewing the kind of feedback we give in a similar way to the feedback we give adults? Shouldn’t we strive for it to be respectful and relevant, and almost always formative?

I liked Chris’s feedback categories, “I noticed…”, “I wonder…”, “What if…?”. They looked so concise and useful that I thought they must be something famous that I had somehow skipped noticing actually, but Google didn’t race to a place where they had been recorded before, so it seems they are a Lehmann original. Nice work, Chris! I think they will be just as powerful with students who are self-directed learners as they will be with staff.


About Mary St George

I teach in gifted education, both online and face-to-face.
This entry was posted in education, gifted, twitter and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Feedback – Staff vs Students

  1. Sorry, Mary – I don’t see anything particularly new or unusual about using words like “I noticed …”, “I wonder …” “Perhaps …” in giving student feedback. It’s how I trained my preservice teachers more than 10 years ago and certainly how I’ve been writing feedback for many, many years.

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