Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Edifying and Effective Feedback

A follow -up 'love letter' of thanks to treasured Ontario colleagues...

Feedback to Demonstrate Caring Connections

© Laura Benson

& Listen to understand vs. listening to talk.

& Ask questions you do not know the answer to. This keeps feedback real J.

& Employ wait time. This will also give you more time to develop the most thoughtful response.

& To trust in the process and journey of new learning, help your partner understand that “It will be uncomfortable before it is comfortable…”

& Most often, feedback conversations work best when they convey Glenda’s (the good witch from Wizard of Oz) advice: You have always had the power within you.

Promoting Reflection


What teaching strategy did you use?

What effect did it have on student learning?


What were you thinking as you observed students working in this group?

What adjustments did you make in the lesson when you made those observations?

What options did you consider?

How did you determine the best choice?


When you use this instructional strategy to teach this lesson, what surprised you?

What will you remember about today’s lesson that will help you as you plan future lessons like this one?

*Adapted from the work of Cindy Harrison & Susan Sparks

Connecting Through Conversation

• Set aside your own agenda and ask, “What is the most important thing we should be talking about today?”

• When you ask, really ask. One of the greatest gifts you can give another is the purity of your attention. *Ask questions you do not know the answer to.

Silence your cell phone. You cannot be here, prepared to be nowhere else, when you are interrupted by beeps, buzzes, and bells.

• Speak with and listen to others as your equals, because they are.

• If you’re unclear about what someone means, ask them to say more.

• Resolve to get it right (whatever it is), rather than to be right.

• Look inside yourself - with some people you may have to dig deep - to find at least a modicum of genuine affection for the person(s) with whom you are talking.

• Get past “How are you?” “I’m fine, how are you?”

• Be kind. Everyone is carrying a heavy load.

Scott, S. (2002). Fierce conversations: Achieving success at work & in life, one conversation at a time. New York: Penguin.

Mineral Rights: 7 questions that get results

Purpose: To draw someone out along the way: Say more. What else? Strict rule: No advice! Questions only. The solution emerges within the answers.

1. What is the most important thing we should be talking about today?

2. How long has this been going on?

3. What results is this producing? Who is this impacting? When you consider these results, what do you feel?

4. If nothing changes, what is likely to occur? When you imagine that possible scenario, what do you feel?

5. What has been your contribution to this problem?

6. What would be your ideal outcome? If you succeed in this, what difference will that make?

7. What is the next most powerful step you can take? When will you take it? When can I follow up with you?

Asking about emotions is essential, as emotions create impetus for action. When people stay in their heads, it’s doubtful anything will change. A Mineral Rights conversation creates an internal bonfire, a call to action. Have it with yourself, a friend, a family member, a colleague, or an angry parent (Susan Scott, 2010).

Engaging Students in Metacognitive Feedback

In honor of incredible and brilliant MISA & NOEL colleagues ~ Thunder Bay, Ontario...Thank you for sharing your wisdom and hearts with me. You grow my thinking to new vistas!

nWhat did you learn about yourself as a reader today?
nWhat did you learn about yourself as a writer/revising writer/descriptive writer today?
nHow is learning about summarizing helping you (in all content areas and life!)?
What advice would you give your Kindergarten buddy about making connections?