Saturday, July 30, 2016

Constructive Feedback vs Hurting Someone

Recently I watched a member of my PLN leave a group chat over an innocent comment.

Feedback is something that we all need in order to grow as professionals, but I'm sure most of us have been on the receiving end of feedback as well. Although designed to be helpful, if you're like me you will take certain comments way to personally.

Recently a former colleague of mine was complaining because during a walk-through, the principal wrote "your garbage was too full for the beginning of the day" under the classroom environment section of the feedback form. Is this truly helpful feedback? Would the principal have preferred the garbage be on the floor? I'm sure the comment was meant innocently. Just like teachers have certain forms they need to complete, so do principals. Perhaps this teacher was doing everything correctly but the principal was required to give at least one place for "improvement" and couldn't find a real area.

I remember that once during a PD, a principal said that every assignment we returned to students required feedback and "great job" was not acceptable. The student could have done an exploratory job but we were still required to give them a place for improvement.

As I continue on my journey in education, I need to look at this in relation to my students. Is there an acceptable point to not give room for improvement. I know that no one is perfect, but that doesn't mean we have to crush someone's spirit.

I might think my comment is helpful, but when a student has worked extremely hard on a project they might take a major emotional blow that will end up preventing them from trying the next time.

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