Monday, January 13, 2014

Classroom Visits with Feedback DO Help

A very popular article by Joanne Jacobs is circulating on Social Media titled, "Principal's classroom visits don't help."

I consider myself to be an "instructional leader".  Why?  Because I hold myself accountable to spend time in teacher's classrooms.

But the results of the new study included Jacobs's article concluded that principals simply spending time in classrooms does not impact student achievement unless genuine feedback is provided to the teachers regularly.  Notice the study does not indicate "more time" is needed by principals and school administrators in classrooms, which is presumably a misconception by administrators.

Therefore, the study corresponds with my strong belief that consistently providing feedback does assist in teacher's development and reflection, and teachers value this feedback.

At the Gaston County Teaching & Learning Conference this past summer, I co-presented "Administrative Walk-Through's Using Google Forms".  The technology component of this presentation involved Walk-Through Forms with FormEmailer, utilizing Google Forms.

The timing of my presentation was unfortunate because Principals/Assistant Principals of GCS (56 schools) were told a Walk-Through system was being developed district-wide to be used by all administrators that DID NOT include any feedback to teachers, rather to serve as tool for instructional data collection.  This occurred only two days before my presentation, which was an instructional feedback-driven presentation.  Fortunately, some administrators from GCS still attended, in addition to the administrators from outside the county.

I interviewed teachers who previously received my feedback in the 2011-2012 and '12-13 school years to include in my presentation.  The Prezi on teacher feedback can be viewed here: Prezi on Teacher Feedback

"I like knowing what I can do to improve lessons in my classroom", said one Science teacher.

Another teacher responded via email, "Immediate feedback = immediate improvement, even if it was positive feedback - will apply those strategies to other lessons, if possible."

A Social Studies teacher said, "In order to reinforce best practices, prompt and immediate feedback is necessary."

The adamant availability of technology to school administrators, including iPad's, Google+, Google Forms, Evernote, etc. provide no excuse for instructional feedback to be lacking.  Most Google Forms can be used on any Smart Phone with internet browser access and we always have our phones.

Walk-Through's can (and should) be used as accountability for both teachers and students, but without instructional feedback to a teacher, visibility is the extent of the action.  Feedback allows both administrators and teachers to collaborate in a digital forum with the objectives of improving instruction and maintaining a high level of student engagement, resulting in increased student achievement.

Every Walk-Through with feedback is an action of Professional Development for both the teacher and administrator.  A more appropriate term for Professional Development is Professional Growth.

Let's focus on sharing feedback with our teachers so we all benefit.  And by we, I am referring to teachers, administrators, and students.

Thanks for reading,


The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.

No comments:

Post a Comment