All y’all know that I’ve been completely consumed by reimagining the role that feedback should play in the modern classroom, right? I’ve been reading darn near everything written by experts like Dylan Wiliam, Grant Wiggins, John Hattie, Rick Stiggins, Jan Chappuis, Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey. More importantly, I’ve been tinkering with the feedback practices in my classroom for the better part of the past four years.
If there’s any single thought that holds together the key findings of all of these folks, it’s that the best feedback is GATHERED, not GIVEN:
(click here to view and download original image on Flickr)
Here’s why: When we reverse the traditional roles that teachers and learners play in the classroom feedback cycle, we are helping our students to recognize that the people who are the MOST successful in our world AREN’T those who can take critique from a boss and adjust their actions/behaviors/work products accordingly.
The MOST successful people in our world are constantly critiquing THEMSELVES. They are identifying meaningful goals worth pursuing, looking for exemplars to measure their own performances against, setting criteria for determining success, measuring their own progress, and constantly adjusting their goals, their decisions, their actions and their direction on the fly.
To borrow a related thought from Mortimer Adler, author of The Paideia Proposal:
All genuine learning is active, not passive. It involves the use of the mind, not just the memory. It is a process of discovery, in which the student is the main agent, not the teacher.
So ask yourself this: How often is the feedback process that you are using with students active and not passive? How often does it turn your students into the main agents in a process of discovery, using their minds to create meaning and find sense in their own patterns of performance?
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