A Reader Writes… Immediate Feedback After a Short Walk-thru – Part 1

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In response to the 1/23/2013 post, “Immediate Feedback After a Short Walk-thru,” a reader writes:

SC,

We’ve discussed this before, but I have to put in my two cents on, “Should I give teachers feedback after every short walk-thru?”

My answer is, “If you can, you need to try and give some type of feedback, albeit, short and informal.”

Then I would follow your advice and meet every 3 – 6 weeks and review trends and coach.

Why? As Brezina says, the 4th “R” is “Relationships.” Students make huge improvements/changes when teachers make a connection with them.

Teachers are no different. If the Instructional Leader is constantly conducting PowerWalks, teachers want to know what is being observed and if they are doing a good job. Yet, we know that people need specific feedback. Just saying “Good job” won’t make changes. I do my PowerWalks and pick out one thing I like. Then at the first opportunity, in one sentence tell the teacher, “I like ___ because…” In the next sentence I say, “You could improve ____, if you did, ____.” I connect it to one of the Fundamental 5. If I don’t see them within 24 hours, I drop them an e-mail. My final comment is, “We’ll talk more about the overall trends at our next meeting.”

Now I have a specific to follow up with when we meet and I have a ton of data from PowerWalks. Plus, my teacher is happy because I gave her some feedback. Finally, after the teacher begins to trust you (you’ve built the relationship), you do not have to give the feedback every time.

This process creates buy-in for the Fundamental Five and the change process.

SC Response First, I have to clarify, Brezina teaches that the only “R” is results.  Rigor, Relevance and Relationship are tools in the pursuit of results.  Playing for Lombardi will permanently shape your worldview. Much like working for Brezina. 

Second, I don’t advocate being a robot and not talking to teachers. But I also know that in many cases, one 3-minute observation tells me nothing.  I have to let my teachers know that.  Which means sometimes, I have nothing of substance to share.  We all have to be OK with that.  When it comes to classroom observations, we are all better served (observer and observed) when the observer channels her inner golf coach.

When you take a golf lesson, the pro has you hit a number of balls while he just observes your swing.  The pro will put you at ease, give you some encouragement and occasionally remind you of some basics, while observing and analyzing the complex, inter-related process that is the golf swing.  Then after watching enough swings to separate random occurrence from typical practice, the pro will then work with you on the critical misstep (as opposed to every misstep) that are preventing you from achieving your goals.

That’s why you visit classrooms, that’s why you collect data and that is why you coach your staff.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
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