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Giving and Receiving Feedback

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Author: Trisha Fyfe

This lesson explains why feedback is a crucial aspect of instructional coaching, and outlines the best practices for providing feedback.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe. And in today's video lesson, we'll cover the lesson titled, Giving and Receiving Feedback. As we learn about this topic, we will work toward several learning objectives. And together in this video lesson, we'll answer the following two questions. What are best practices in giving and receiving feedback? And, what do these best practices in giving and receiving feedback look like?

An instructional coach has many roles. These individuals help teachers in so many different ways. They observe, model, listen, and provide feedback. This is one of the most essential roles of the instructional coach-- providing feedback. But just because this is one of the main roles doesn't mean that it's an easy one. Providing feedback can prove to be a very challenging part of coaching.

Part of the reason for this is the fact that it is very difficult to receive feedback. As humans with feelings, we are sensitive in nature to hearing that we need help or that we can do a better job, especially when this feedback is related to the careers that we have worked so hard for and put so much into.

But to better ourselves professionally and reach those professional development goals that we've set for ourselves as teachers, we need that feedback. It's critical to our success. And we need the feedback to occur at many different points and times, especially after our evaluator has observed us or after a walk-through. While it may seem daunting to go through the process of giving feedback, there are some things that you can do to help make this process less stressful and more effective.

Keep these best practices in mind the next time you're asked to give feedback. In the coaching relationship, establish trust. Make sure that the relationship is open and one that allows for a teacher to build trust with you as the coach. Consider the level of trust, and adjust the type of feedback or how it's given. And also consider the personality of the individual that you're observing. In this instance, that would be the teacher.

Ask permission before you give feedback. Something like, I noticed some things during the lesson that I observed. Would it be OK if I talked to you about what I observed and offer some ideas to make it go more smoothly for you next time? Providing examples and being very specific is essential, as well. General feedback may seem easier to give at times, but teachers need feedback that is detailed and based on the actual observation.

The evaluator should aim to use feedback that focuses on the students, feedback geared towards what will benefit the students and enhance achievement. Steer clear of too much negative feedback. This can be very overwhelming and discouraging for the teacher. Instead, focus on where the teacher's goals lie first.

Use the Oreo technique. Give positive feedback first, then a piece of negative feedback, followed by more positive feedback. It's also important to think about the timing of feedback. The closer to the actual observation, the more beneficial the feedback is for the teacher, while the ideas and lesson is fresh in their mind.

The last idea we'll talk about here is the role of reflection. Reflection is essential for the coach and the teacher. The evaluator should encourage the teacher to use reflection techniques. Guiding questions can be beneficial for prompting reflection.

It's important for the coach to closely watch how the teacher reacts to feedback. What did they say? How did they say it? This can help a coach determine if this feedback is being taken well or not. If not, the coach can and should determine solutions for this issue.

Let's look at some best practices for accepting feedback. Just as giving feedback can be a daunting task, receiving feedback can be equally as daunting. Regardless, it's an important part of the teacher-coach relationship. And it's crucial for a teacher and coach to grow relationship-wise. Here are some best practices for accepting or receiving feedback to keep in mind.

Understanding the feedback-- listen to what you're hearing. Be honest with yourself about the feedback that you are given. When there's a misunderstanding or you don't understand what's being said, ask for clarification. If you receive constructive criticism, have some dialogue with your evaluator about improving your performance based on this.

Let's talk about how to approach receiving feedback. We've already discussed how hard it is to give feedback, to tell someone things can be done better, especially a professional. It's also hard to receive that feedback. When you invest so much into a lesson, it can be tough to receive negative feedback. Try to stay cool and collected and leave emotion out of it. Be graceful in accepting feedback that's constructive.

Lastly, a best practice for applying the feedback is to look at the feedback you've been given and turn around and use that feedback as soon as possible in a practical way. This will help you as the teacher apply what you've learned about yourself.

Let's look at an example of a coaching situation. First, we'll look at giving feedback. Here's what ineffective feedback might look like. Let's say a coach comes in to observe a middle school science teacher's lesson on the parts of a cell. After the observation, the coach has to leave promptly and there's no date for follow-up scheduled. When the two do finally meet, it's over a week later and the coach gives the teacher a list of things she observed that need improvement, things like, you need more wait time and your students were not actually engaged.

Only after this does the coach praise the teacher for a few areas of the lesson that was observed. This feedback is not specific. It's not given in a timely manner. And the teacher is overwhelmed with more negative feedback than is necessary here. This is ineffective feedback.

Let's look at another example using some effective feedback. Let's change how the feedback was given using the same scenario. A coach comes in to observe a middle school science teacher's lesson on the parts of a cell. Immediately after the observation, the coach and teacher set a time for the following afternoon to meet and discuss the observation. The coach leaves the teacher with some questions to think about. How do you feel wait time was for this lesson? Do you think your students are actively engaged? Why or why not?

The teacher and coach meet the next day and the coach starts by praising the teacher on how well she integrated technology into this lesson. She mentions specific elements of the lesson where technology was used, and she observed more student engagement here. She follows this with feedback on students' engagement levels on other parts of the lesson.

For example, when you're in front of your class lecturing on the parts of a cell using a PowerPoint, the students in the back of the room were not able to see and hear very well. It might have been helpful to look at rearranging the space so all students can see the screen better. After discussing this, the coach follows up with a more positive feedback on this teacher's classroom management skills using specific examples of strategies that were working for the students.

This feedback was given in a timely manner. It's specific and observation-based. And the feedback is balanced. The evaluator used the Oreo technique that we discussed-- positive feedback, positive feedback, some negative feedback that's aligned with the goals of the teacher, and more positive. These reasons will all lead to feedback being taken well and used more effectively. It's sure to lead to more growth in this teacher.

Lets now compare two ways that a teacher can receive feedback. The first example shows a teacher that ineffectively receives this feedback. Let's say, the same coach and teacher discussing the part of the feedback where the coach mentions that some students are not engaged during the lesson. The teacher gets upset at this remark and tries to defend herself by saying, I have too many students and tables to change the layout of the classroom. And students have never mentioned that they have had an issue before. There are no questions asked and no discussion on how to improve. This teacher also reacts with emotions, which is not helpful.

Next is a teacher that responds effectively. Again, we'll use the same scenario. A coach and teacher are discussing the part of the feedback where the coach mentions some of the students are not engaged during the lesson. The teacher asks the coach for ideas and mentions that she's tried a few arrangements and none have worked that well. She asks the coach to take a few minutes and walk around the room with her to give her some ideas.

This teacher asked for more detail. They're also willing to open a discussion on how to improve. They remain unemotional and find a way to apply the feedback. When a teacher responds to feedback in this way, this is appropriate. And they're more likely to show greater growth.

So let's talk about what we've learned today. We looked at the following questions. What are the best practices in giving and receiving feedback? And what do these best practices in giving and receiving feedback look like?

In today's lesson we looked at the role of feedback in the instructional coaching relationship. And we examined some best practices of not only the coach who gives the feedback, but also the teacher, the receiver of the feedback. Now that you're more familiar with these concepts, let's reflect. Consider a coaching scenario that you've been a part of or observed. Can you think of best practices that were used when giving or receiving feedback?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson, Giving and Receiving Feedback. I hope you found value in this video lesson and are able to apply these ideas and resources to your own teaching. To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Notes on “Giving and Receiving Feedback”


(00:00- 00:24) Introduction/Objectives

(00:25- 01:22) Why Instructional Feedback?

(01:23- 03:29) Best Practices: Giving Feedback

(03:30- 04:48) Best Practices: Receiving Feedback

(04:49- 08:26) Examples of Feedback

(08:27- 08:51) Recap

(08:52- 09:28) Reflection 

Additional Resources

Tools for use by Literacy Coaches, Reading Coaches, or Instructional Coaches

This site offers planning, implementing, and feedback tools for instructional coaches. The resources and tools are readily accessible and easy to use.

Instructional Coach Weighs 3 Types of Data to Get Triple-Strength Feedback

This article looks at teacher reflection, student evidence, and evidence of sustained change. Included in the article is a useful evidence-based coaching tool.