This is the first of a new series of mini-posts sharing the work I have been doing in developing teaching and learning, through a weekly forum and bulletin, observation and feedback.
If feedback be the food of love, verbalise on…
So ignoring the tenuous Shakespeare reference, I’ve been scribbling down some ideas on how to develop verbal feedback. It’s my teaching and learning forum topic of the week.
In all the observations I carry out, there is a striking difference between the teacher that nails it year in and year out in terms of outcomes for students. This is the teacher who understands how to orchestrate the best verbal feedback. The teacher who gives feedback like their life depends on it. The teacher who can turn the feedback into molten gold.
I call this kind of teacher the ‘Drill Down’ teacher. They take a response and drill down into the core of it. You can tell when you watch the Drill Down teacher that they have heard the student response and these questions are going through their heads:
- Is it correct?
- How correct is it?
- How might it be more correct?
- What’s the flaw?
- What’s missing?
- What’s the misconception?
- How can I show them without just telling them?
- What do they need to be able to do?
- What are the stages of this learning?
Bear in mind I’m not talking here about quick-fire recall questions here. When students give a opinion or process response, that’s the pivot moment that tilts to stagnation or to progress. Learning is most visible in these moments.
What kind of verbal feedback do you give? How do you get even better at it? The Verbal Feedback Audit attached here is useful for you as an individual to review your practice, or as a tool for development of groups of teachers. I’ll be combining it with filmed practice from an experienced teacher, asking less experienced teachers to analyse the ways in which effective feedback is given.