#ClasskickChat Recap: To Get More Feedback, Act More Coachable

#ClasskickChat November 1, 2016

It's hard to say who dreads critical feedback more: the person giving it or the person receiving it. As the receiver (usually our students, or the teachers we are coaching), it can be uncomfortable and stressful to hear that you are not performing well. And the teacher or coach, knowing this, fears that the receiver may not react productively and therefore is likely to postpone sharing their views. 

But we all need and want feedback. That's how we get better as students and as teachers. So it's up to us to to show our students and/or co-teachers that we are willing to hear and act on feedback. The more someone perceives us as "coachable," the more likely they are to take the risk and time to give us their feedback.


So what can we do to increase the perception of "coachability?" 

This was the premise for our Tuesday, October 4th #ClasskickChat. Here's how the conversation started:

Classkick @Classkick Q1: How do you solicit feedback?
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A1: I think as adults we often email things or put them in a mailbox when we are asking for feedback rather than face-to-face #ClasskickChat
Amy Roediger @AmyRoediger A1: I just hung a sign outside my classroom door with what I am seeking feedback on and a QR code to deliver it #ClasskickChat
Doug Ragan @dragan39 @Classkick A1: Try to provide 1:1 feedback as much as I can but have done whole class of feedback as well.

We often need to go out of our way to make sure that people know we are looking for feedback and create easy ways for them to provide it to us. That QR code is a genius idea for educators looking to solicit quick feedback from students and peer observers! 


Once we receive feedback, how should we express gratitude?

Classkick @Classkick Q2: How do you express gratitude for feedback?
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A2: I think a quick and genuine "thank you" is enough to express it.
Doug Ragan @dragan39 @Classkick A2: simply thanking them if students or asking for more clarification if say administrators

We can help our students by modeling our thanks for their feedback, or feedback from other teachers and administrators. 


What about when feedback is less than nice? 

Classkick @Classkick Q3: Do you teach your students that no one is perfect?
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A3: Yes - it's essential to show that everyone makes mistakes. 
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A3: But more than that - everyone IMPROVES from feedback. 

We need our students to recognize that everyone makes mistakes and that feedback is just a necessary piece of learning and growing from each other. However, we should all provide feedback to other people in the way that we'd like to receive it - positively, and aimed at growth. 


What do we do when students don't react well to feedback?

Here's what the Classkick community thought:

Classkick @Classkick Q4: How do you work through being defensive?
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A4: I think we have a tough time hearing that someone else doesn't like what we've created. 
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A4: As feedback receivers, we have to realize that we're trying to get better - smarter - understand a certain concept more. #ClasskickChat
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A4: And hearing feedback from others is going to help us get closer to that understanding. 

We need to help our students, and perhaps even our colleagues, see feedback as a means to reaching our goals. If we're aiming at a particular point, feedback helps us determine how close or far we are from achieving it. No need to respond negatively to someone trying to help us align with our goals! 


When we do want to engage students in thinking about current events, how do we get them to reflect?

Here's what Classkick Teachers discussed: 

Classkick @Classkick Q5: Do you act on all feedback?
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A5: When I was teaching, I think I tried to act on as much feedback as possible, which is really hard when it conflicts! #ClasskickChat
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A5: I'd hear my principal say one thing, my students say another... 
Andrew @ahrowland A5: Such a good question!

Feedback from multiple sources, or leading us in different directions, can be a source of inner conflict for us as educators (and for our students). It can be helpful to think of feedback as one source of information, with our own intuition and data gathering as other, equally relevant sources. In the grand scheme of things, we should be seeking multiple points-of-view about our progress to ensure that we are on the right track! 


The last question asked for a deeper dive into our classrooms and how we help students discuss current events with each other:

Classkick @Classkick Q6: Re: feedback Do you try to put yourself in someone else's shoes?
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A6: I think a great way to start this lesson with students is through literature. 
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A6: As students start to understand seeing something through another's eyes, then have them re-examine their own moments. #ClasskickChat
Laura Litton @LauraLitton A6: We did this as high school students by rewriting scenes from different POVs quite often. 
Andrew @ahrowland A6: Also I'd have them practice A.S.K. feedback and demo to class. 

See you next month - Tuesday, November 1st - at 5pm Central. Join our Facebook community to continue the discussion beyond Twitter and to view monthly topics and discussion questions.