What we think…:
Getting feedback right, as a teacher, is a skill that is refined over time. Certain methods really work with some pupils, whereas another group of pupils demand a different approach which works for them. Following on from their book about measuring Progress, Isabella Wallace and Leah Kirkman have, again, gathered a digestible collection of inspiring short essays from a broad range of discerning experts all focusing on offering practical strategies for offering feedback.
Seth Godin, Mick Waters, Mike Gershon & DianaLaufenberg are some of the well-known proponents offering opinion, advice and strategies within the book, but Professor Dylan Wiliam’s chapter on Formative assessment also reminds us that providing feedback to students helps them move their learning forward, rather than just being critical about their work – fundamentally improving the student, not just the work they’ve completed.
This is a handy little book for teachers and schools to often refer to, and each short chapter could easily be included in a series of staff meetings or professional development sessions with the messages within providing stimulus for teaching reflection, improvements and refining of processes within a school.
From the publisher…:
Feedback is arguably one of the most powerful tools available to teachers for enhancing learning. And in the classroom it can be understood and implemented in a whole range of ways, as Isabella, Leah and their contributors – the best of the best – demonstrate.
Mike Gershon, for example, demonstrates that feedback is not a one off response but must be viewed as a continuing process or dialogue. As part of that continued dialogue, Mick Waters explores the idea of feedback from students to teachers – a reversal of our usual assumptions about the direction of flow.
Other contributors give us a different perspective, focusing instead on what constitutes the most useful and effective feedback. For example, Art Costa and Robert Garmston challenge the notion that feedback should be about giving praise. Barry Hymer also argues that simple praise and reward only serve to keep the teacher in control, thereby robbing the student of self-efficacy.
Seth Godin takes this a step further and suggests that for feedback to have any real meaning it should offer an analysis rather than simply an opinion. The argument for analytical and specific feedback is then picked up by Ron Berger and Diana Laufenberg, who both advocate the importance of giving feedback referenced to clear criteria. Their practical approaches to this do differ somewhat, however.
There are too many contributors to name individually, but throughout Feedback Isabella and Leah have brought together some of the biggest names in education to explore this wide-reaching subject. From these contributions, each unique and enlightening in its own right, a number of key themes emerge. Their opinions may differ but, above all, these contributors are all united in the view that what effective feedback is primarily about is clear, constructive and specific communication.
Suitable for all educationalists, including teachers and school leaders.