feedback,  formative assessment,  Teacher Reflection

Who appraises or offers you Feedback?

twofacedjustice

Two Faced Justice by Johnson Cameraface CC BY NC SA

The dreaded word around the MYP PE faculty and classroom is ‘reflection’.  Do we have to do another one – really?  It seems you can tell when the end of a reporting period is up as the students are madly reflecting on everything they have learned and teachers roll their eyes in solidarity – reflection time again – please spare us.  I read Jen Hatmaker’s blog post on being the Worst End of School Mom Ever and took some of this away as I thought about how I end each of my units and how I watch the slog over reflections, evaluations, feedback and all the rest – how much can we actually stand as teachers and students???

But over the last few years I have been really working on Feedback.  How do we offer feedback and how are we using this lifelong concept in our classes?  I have shared a lot about screencasting and ways that I use screencasts in my lessons to offer feedback and also for my students to tell me about their own learning.  Next month I will share an article I have written for ACHPER magazine that will be out in July/August about this topic and how it is reshaping my PE classroom and my assessment practices.

But as the semester or year closes, the focus turns to me.  How did I perform as a teacher this time around?  How did I do?  And so it is time to poll the kids.  I have discussed this in some length with other educators on Twitter – Adrienne Michetti, Jabiz Raisdana, Kelsey Giroux and Simon Mills just to name a few and we have been discussing surveys for students to fill out that really capture data for us to know if our time and dedication pays off for the students.  This is the one I have used this year with my students.  I acknowledge that you do need to read the data carefully as every student will feel quite differently about their learning.  And so it is the trends over the individual input that I am trying to work from.  I am also looking at trialling using formative polls using socrative or infuse learning at the end of my classes to gauge students about their lessons – usually I use these polls as exit tickets to see if they got anything from my lesson or not…

So I would be interested to know if you ask students to offer feedback on your teaching, and if you would be willing to share yours with me and the community here to see how we can grow and get better at what we do.

10 Comments

  • mhamada

    Hello Corey, thanks for your comment! You ask two good questions here- how much f’back should we be giving (I am assuming you mean as teachers to students?) and what is the frequency of your feedback. I would suggest in my practice that the more frequent the feedback the better. If you are watching anything performance based in class, you will enhance their work if your offer f’back to them as they learn, however, my observations are that video or screencast feedback are more powerful and valuable than verbal or physical feedback. There has to be incentive with imagery to show them what they are doing in their work. If you are talking about your performance as a teacher or looking at more concepts (like leadership) than you might like to wait til the unit or course is underway to see some development or be able to discuss change or growth, try not to offer f’back or advice to early, but don’t leave the behaviour so long that it is ingrained. This can and should be personal to your individual students. You also need to teach them about good f’back and coaching so they know what to say to each other and to you. I have a rule that we are not allowed to say ‘well done, you tried hard’ or ‘good try’ or similar, as this offers no help to the person or to you, you have and must be more explicit than this to see growth and understand the reason there was an error or a great play made. I hope this makes sense. Hope to see you again! 🙂

  • Corey Waldon

    Hey Mrs. Hamada,
    My name is Corey Waldon and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. In my class EDM310 I was assigned to your blog to leave a few comments.
    Overall Mrs. Hamada I believe you have an interesting post here. I think you ask a big question and it is one many teacher may struggle with. Feedback is very essential to learning. Teachers must give students good feedback just as well as student should give teachers good feedback. Feedback makes room for corrections and sometimes gives students and teachers an understand of how other feel about them. My question to you, How much feedback should be giving? and how often should you give feedback? Again Great post.

  • mhamada

    Thanks Kai for your comment. The kids are at least very honest, but this takes time to cultivate. I wonder if I did the same as other teachers and told them I was going to publish my results to a public audience what they would do then??
    I am interested in knowing what other blogs you are following or other PE or subject blogs, I would like to know how these are chosen! Who else should I add to my blog-reading for better professional practice?
    Hope to hear from you later. I am off to Japan to a new school next year, hope to hear from you again.

  • Kai Lopez

    Mrs. Hamada,

    Another great post! I think that it is a great idea to ask the students for feedback on your teaching. I think that asking for the students feedback is a great way for teachers to become better at teaching. Teachers can then understand their strengths and weaknesses of their teaching abilities. Like I said in an earlier comment on one of your post, I am not a teacher yet, but when I do become one, I do want the students feedback about the way I teach because if they don’t like the way I teach then I will have to change it as my teaching career goes on. Thanks!

    Kai Lopez

  • mhamada

    Andy, I would be flattered to be in one of the PEPLC videos, but I am not sure I am the best person to talk about feedback. I have some insight and practice, but am happy to share what I have found and how this has developed in my own learning as a teacher. Is your new appraisal system PE dept or school wide? I would love to hear your thoughts and see what you decide to use or pilot with – I do believe that different age groups require slightly different approaches and you need to think about how often/how much you poll. I will try and solicit some more teacher examples if I can. Jabiz, Kelsey and Adrienne had some good ones from a non-PE perspective too. Thanks again.

  • mhamada

    Mike, thanks for sharing. It is interesting to evaluate what we find important when getting feedback from our students (or from others) and to think about who is using this data and how they intend to use it. I do think the simplicity of your categories is good, you have a range of factors that are being considered (and I can see the cultural interest – “turns up on time”!) so it sounds like you are getting some good feedback to begin with – I think mine is perhaps a little long for kids, but more testing will determine this for me. I also wonder if our students really know about their needs (especially the younger ones) and if they are just doing a running comparison between me as the PE teacher and their other subject teachers… but still something is better than nothing.
    I hope your next survey works out for you, if you have a moment, come back and share again, I love seeing other people’s forms, I shared a few with the crowd I mentioned in this post!

  • Mike McMillen

    Hi Mel,

    We often reflect on our own performance and are assessed by other teachers/leaders, but often the student’s feedback is forgotten or neglected by some. Receiving feedback from student’s is vital in helping our teaching so I see it as just as important as any other feedback i receive.

    At my current school students are required to evaluate you as a teacher and then the school management then receive a score for each teacher. Students evaluate the teacher (on a scale of 1-5 I think) on things like if the teacher (the categories are in Chinese [don’t get me started on this], but they translate to something like this):
    Turns up to class on time
    Brings a positive attitude to the class
    Makes your class enjoyable
    is caring and supportive
    Helps you to learn

    There are positives and negatives to this type of evaluation. Positive: It shows the school what sort of teacher you are and if the students are enjoying your classes, which is obviously important. Negative: It provides little insight about how our teaching meets the students’ needs.
    I really enjoyed reading your example in Google response format, some of the questions you have asked I will definitely be including in my next student feedback form. The questions and answers given gave a much better insight into your student’s views about how you teach and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Thanks for sharing

  • andy vasily

    Part of our new appraisal system next year will involve student feedback. So, over the summer, I am going to be thinking of multiple, ongoing ways to solicit feedback from my students to measure and see the results of my instruction. I will definitely share and will need some ideas, so will visit your website and speak to you about ideas that you have used and put into practice.

    In terms of PEPLC, I think that this would be a great topic of discussion for the Leadership and Mentoring learning theme. Would you care to discuss this as part of introductory video for this specific topic. It would be excellent for these learning teams to consider feedback as in indicator of teacher performance when meeting in their groups on Google Hangout.

  • mhamada

    Thanks for sharing Andy, I really do believe that a lot of the reflection work we do with students is all about ticking off our list – have we reflected as MYP or PYP students? Yes. done and move on. I also found that if I asked students to blog or reflect about the comments I gave them on their work that this strengthened the relationship they had between work they completed/grades/comments and then their own reflection on how they would apply this to the next unit with similar assessment outcomes. This also helped me to see where they could see their own strengths and weaknesses. Often I wonder why students can do poorly if they are given the assessment outcomes and rubrics so early on, how can they hand in work that clearly doesn’t address these? Performance work I can understand, but their own work?? So I the blog posts on their teacher feedback is helpful to see holes in their thinking.
    I hope you will share you professional feedback from students with us! It is a good jumping off point to consider how you are going to improve your practice for the new year. I believe far more valuable than a HOD or administrative teacher assessing you as a teacher!! And there are more students to get feedback from. Next time I will stagger my survey so that depending on the year group I can send them to a separate survey, so I can tune the results from the year groups more aggressively. Happy feedback!

  • andy vasily

    Great post Mel. You bring up one of the most important aspects of teaching practice in this post as far as I’m concerned. You are so correct in saying that a lot of time and energy is spent on getting our students to reflect on their own performance and the performance of their peers. But, how are we, as educators, to know with certainty whether or not our instructional practices are effective in nature. How are we to know whether or not our instruction is actually enhancing the learning of our students? Looking at and experimenting with different ways to measure our own effectiveness as educators is critical and it sounds like you are doing just that. I commend your efforts and believe that what you shared here will benefit many other professionals who strive to improve their own practice and to think about ways to reflect on and assess their own performance.

    Thanks for sharing. You’ve got my wheels spinning. Talk soon.
    Andy Vasily

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