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Beyond the Dog & Pony Show

Beyond the Dog & Pony Show . Meaningful Student Feedback Linda Montgomery Buell, Ed.D . linda@lindamontgomerybuell.com. Some Thoughts about This Business of Schooling. What we do really matters—now and far from now Teaching: the most important profession—and maybe the hardest

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Beyond the Dog & Pony Show

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  1. Beyond the Dog & Pony Show Meaningful Student Feedback Linda Montgomery Buell, Ed.D. linda@lindamontgomerybuell.com

  2. Some Thoughts about This Business of Schooling • What we do really matters—now and far from now • Teaching: the most important profession—and maybe the hardest • Almost everyone believes our schools—even our blue ribbon schools—could be better. • Ground Zero for school improvement is the classroom and the relationship between teacher and student

  3. The real business of school: creating work that will engage kids’ attention/effort to the degree required for achieving desired outcomes • The quality of the work provided to students is at least as important as the quality of the work the students do (Philip Schlechty).

  4. What Teachers Need • A way to get inside their students’ skin • A vision for the work they are doing • Seeing kids’ lives as increments of hours and determining to not be a “Jesse James” teacher • Imagining what their former students will say to them at their future retirement party

  5. Remember Most people want and deserve to take joy in their work. It is management’s moral obligation to create a system that enables them to do so. Given a chance by management and the system, most people will seek fulfillment in their work by doing the best they can. Edward Deming

  6. Tough Love • It is unloving to allow persons to flounder and fail each day and retain their jobs. It is management’s duty to inform the employees to find jobs for which they are better suited and that would bring them more joy in their work and personal lives. (Hoyle, Leadership and the Force of Love, 94).

  7. Honest Love • Evaluation systems of organizations are not the problem—human judgment is. Unloving evaluators can make evaluation data fit their personal whims, likes, and dislikes and paint a picture of the person being evaluated as a blooming flower or a dying weed(Hoyle, 88).

  8. Meaningful Student Feedback: A Tool for Getting Inside the Skin! • What it is • Why it works • How you do it

  9. What is it, anyway?! • A system for eliciting high-quality feedback • In about 30 minutes • Without observation of a teaching episode.

  10. A Little Bit of History • Not on my watch! • First use: a disaster (sort of) and a lesson learned (use other tools for “tough love”). • Practice on the “champions.” • Faculty room scuttlebutt • Discernment of the essentials that make it work • I love working for you.

  11. Why Does It Work? • It’s voluntary—and the students know it. • It promotes genuine student-teacher dialogue about teaching and learning—a classroom community. • It promotes trust at all levels. • It’s simple and it’s fun.

  12. Let’s Do It! Quick Overview • 30 minutes • In teacher’s absence and at his/her invitation • By a trusted peer or supervisor who can • Block out whining and group think and elicit meaningful feedback.

  13. On Arriving: Set the Stage • Your teacher has asked me to meet with you for about a half an hour to elicit your feedback about your experiences in this class. S/he wants to know what’s working well for you and what s/he might want to think about changing so things work better.

  14. In groups of 3 to 4, six minutes On the board:

  15. Caution: Use Your Heads! • Your teacher has been hired to exercise professional judgment, assessing your present skills and knowledge and devising strategies for taking you to the next levels in the time s/he has. • Your teacher has asked me to elicit your feedback because s/he wants to make sure that her/his strategies are achieving the desired outcomes.

  16. So don’t waste time suggesting a change a true professional will reject (i.e., no essays in an English class; no word problems in math; no homework—ever!). • Focus instead on what you think is happening or not happening in this class that is helping or hurting your achievement.

  17. Consensus is a must at this stage • The student in the small group whose birthday is closest to the nearest holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, May Day) records the group’s responses. S/he records only those responses that all three group members agree on.

  18. After six minutes (not a second more): • Stay in your groups but face the board. • Give a blank copy of the feedback chart to the student who has a reputation “for being the fastest, neatest writer in the class.” S/he is to copy onto the chart exactly what you record on the board.

  19. A Master Chart of All Responses • Give me one thing your group really likes about this class. Record it on the board. • Depending upon the size of the class: If two [up to four] people in any other group(s) disagree with this statement, the student recorder places an * beside that comment. • Move from group to group until all small group responses are on the board for each category of responses.

  20. Final Segment: No More Consensus • Now it’s all about individual priorities. • If your teacher were to retain only ONE of the things you personally really like, which one thing is most important to your success in the class? Vote on only one thing. • Review the whole column then ask for votes on each item. The student recorder indicates the number of votes received by each item.

  21. If your teacher were to decide to adopt one (and only one) of your recommended changes, which one change would contribute most to your increased success? Vote on only one pair of items (the change and an idea for making the change). • Again, the student recorder records the votes.

  22. Concluding Comments to the Students • Thank you for your feedback. I will be meeting with your teacher later today and giving him/her your small group papers and the whole class chart. • Send a student to get the teacher and ask another one to erase the board.

  23. Final Steps for the Supervisor • Conference right away, same day if possible. • Write a summary memo that highlights the positives—things the students really like and especially those things receiving multiple “most important to me” votes—and that provides additional context for the things the students would like evaluated for change. • Context includes reminding teachers that their professional judgment is the deciding factor in responding to student feedback.

  24. Attach the students’ small group papers and the summary chart filled out by the student recorder.

  25. A Bit of Advice • Use this strategy to build, not destroy trust. • Do this only with teachers who request it and rarely, if ever, with teachers new to the profession. • Practice on your strongest, most confident teachers.

  26. When students need help trying to articulate their feedback, be careful not to put words into their mouths (i.e. no manipulating). • Keep things moving.

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