Feedback From Student to Teacher
I like to think of feedback as a two-way street within any learning environment. Students give us feedback all the time; it is just not given in ways we are familiar or comfortable with! For example, students give both verbal and non-verbal feedback throughout lessons. The teacher must learn to listen and adjust; truly putting students needs above all.
In the past, when I would have a student (or 4) misbehaving, I would shift my attention to the rest of the class; completely ignoring the unwanted behavior. I would make a mental note to loop back in with those students on their own time. According to me, they were not going to waste "valuable instructional time".
I was actually guilty of wasting their time by not using their behavior as feedback and adjusting my lesson to their needs. Paying attention to what students are telling me both verbally and non-verbally can help me figure out intentional ways to adjust in the moment. When kids are squirming or talking, Teachers can try altering the lesson by doing a turn & talk or adding some movements into the activity. Another way teachers can immediately apply student feedback is by allowing students to have more choice in the classroom and decision making. Students feel empowered when they are taken seriously as knowledgeable and valuable participants in conversation (Hudson-Ross, Clearly & Casey, 1993), so I plan to provide students with a sense of ownership through frequent and consistent opportunities for choice.
Here are a few examples of ways you can provide opportunities
for specific feedback within your classroom:
Feedback on Behavior
I've always felt like specific feedback had to be time consuming. In fact, I thought if it was not time consuming, it most likely was not specific. Last year, I found myself scrambling to give students feedback on their behavior every day, for every part of the day. I would usually let too much time pass before completing behavior charts, and by then, I'd honestly forgot how that particular student did at that time of the day. A colleague introduced me to Class Dojo as a way for students to monitor their own behavior progress and get my specific feedback. There is also a feature also records the trends of each student's behavior; both positive and negative. The cherry-on-top is that Class Dojo also reports this feedback to parents in real time! I made sure feedback was specific with this resource by personalizing the "blurbs" that are shown in the point system. Since effective feedback is relevant and provides guidance, I created statements that could serve as a reminder and a next step. I downloaded the mobile app on my phone and managed the behavior points of students all around the room including right from my guided reading table.
Self - Monitoring Through Feedback
Another way to give specific feedback is to give students a tool that helps them to monitor their reading progression over time. Since students need to be able to interpret their data for an understanding of how to improve data, having appropriately formatted feedback is important. Fluency bar graphs are a great way for students in the primary grades to monitor their progress and set new goals. Teaching intentional procedures like always using a rubric/checklist for writing activities, or switch & grade in math can serve as ways for quick ways for students to specifically assess themselves and others.
Students can be taught to give meaningful feedback to each other which can also serve as an extension of learning. Give students the proper tools (rubrics, exemplars, sentence stems, etc) to help them use academic and focused language in their feedback. Share aloud activities can be student-led through feedback and conversations. In math, students check a partners answers which almost always leads to students' justifying their answer or strategy. (Also a strong point of assessment data)
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