The power of an effective feedback model

The power of an effective feedback model

When it comes to the importance of giving and receiving feedback, fewer places deliver more long-term impact than schools.

After all, when teaching and learning practices improve, so do their outcomes – and it goes without saying that a good education can have a powerful and positive effect on the lives of everyone who receives it. 

Studies by Professor John Hattie, Dylan Wiliam and others have provided countless examples of this, and schools have sought to use this research to improve the way their staff and students communicate with one another.  

Below, Ken Wallace, CEO of Educator Impact, tells The Educator about some of the hurdles schools experience when trying to establish a culture of feedback, and how to overcome them.

TE: There is no doubt that many schools are trying to achieve an effective feedback regime but might not quite be there yet. In your experience, what are some of the factors that often stand in the way of developing effective feedback practices?

KW: The biggest factors that stand in the way of schools creating an effective feedback culture are:

1) trying to do it themselves (i.e., expecting current staff to be able to build, maintain, and operate a critical but complex solution with lots of moving parts whilst expecting all the benefits);
2) failing to provide systems to enable staff to make effective use of their feedback (e.g. tools for planning and tracking activities to meet goals);
3) approaching the task in an ad-hoc or irregular manner, where what they need is a regular rhythm and a system that is easy and online;
4) rolling out feedback optionally, whereas it’s critical that all staff buy in to “the way we ALL do things around here”; 5) leaders not having visibility of how staff are engaging the task of achieving their goals so that the leaders can assist and increase the impact of all staffs’ efforts. 

TE: Can you share some examples of how Educator Impact is helping teachers and principals develop their feedback practices in 2017?

KW: One of our schools in NSW was able to achieve a 14% improvement in student feedback. We helped the school identify “Calibrating Difficulty” as the biggest area for development. Our methodology guided teachers to dedicate 41% of development time on this competency. And over several cycles of EI’s process, student feedback for this competency improved more than any other competency. The data suggests that basing teaching development on feedback evidence, setting SMART goals, and planning and tracking activities towards meeting goals has a direct impact on student feedback.