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Improving Instruction Through Feedback

I work with so many new principals who just don’t give teachers feedback.  They either do not feel comfortable doing so or they just do not know how to do it.

I get it in a way.  Most principals were assistant principals before they became the principal and their responsibilities included little more than dealing with discipline.  They were not the instructional leader, nor did they want to be.  Most had their hands full just dealing with discipline.

However, now that they are the instructional leader, they need to give teachers timely and valuable feedback.  If I am talking to you, here are the key areas that you can focus on:

Effective Classroom Management – How does the teacher maintain a well-organized and self-disciplined classroom?

Clear Communication – How is the teacher communicating to the students?  Are they using clear and relevant content vocabulary?

Student Engagement – How does the teacher keep the students actively engaged in learning through various methods?

Differentiation – How does the teacher adapt instruction to meet the diverse needs of all students?

Assessment Expertise – How does the teacher use varied assessment techniques to gauge the students’ understanding?

Positive Relationships – How does the teacher build strong rapport with students and fosters a respectful classroom culture?

Creativity – How does the teacher incorporate innovative teaching methods and materials?

Every single Master Teacher I can think of would love to get feedback on these.  They would want to know if you saw it or not.  If so, knowing you saw it would give them energy and validate their planning and hard work to prepare for their students.

I know of some teachers who would not want feedback.  They want to teach how they want to teach and that’s that.

However, you are the instructional leader, and it is part of your job to move the instruction forward at your school.  All your teachers will be one more day experienced tomorrow.  The ones you give feedback to will be better and have one more day of experience tomorrow.

So, how do you give it?  Think about how YOU would want feedback, both positive and negative.  Personally, I wanted feedback face-to-face and as soon as possible.  This is where you learn what your teachers want/need and give them feedback in their preferred way.  

Start today or tomorrow with those teachers you are already comfortable with and give them feedback.  Slowly begin giving feedback to all of your teachers.  This practice will move your campus forward at a new rate of speed that will benefit your students.

Two adults sitting beside each other at table with laptops in front of them while one gestures as if to explain

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