Feedback is the #1 Driver of Student Learning

The biggest lever for increasing student learning is facilitating great feedback. At Classkick, we have been solely focused on this task for two years and I’d like to share my three most important learnings about helping students learn:

1. Establish procedures

Students feel safer when classroom expectations are created, practiced, and enforced. Without established routines, nothing works. If you and your students have different expectations about classroom behavior, frustration ensues.

I recently observed a teacher who had students seated based on the exit slips from the previous day. They were either partnered or in small groups, arranged from a class map projected on the board. As students entered, they glanced at the map, found their spot, and started on the bell ringer as the teacher greeted them, took attendance, and checked homework. Students performed the procedure easily because they understood the expectations and the reasons for them.

Procedures are just as important when using Classkick: students have the option to raise a hand for “help” or “to have their work checked.” Our teachers have the freedom to establish how those options will be used. Some teachers tell students to raise a green hand after they’ve finished each question. Others encourage students to ask “3 before me” and utilize “help” hands for quick visual feedback of concepts that need reteaching.

2. Model, then expect/encourage/require students to DO

We all like watching an expert do something live and then try it ourselves. One of the reasons YouTube and Khan Academy work so well is the modeling they provide. You can watch those videos (like how to solve a Rubik’s cube) over and over and keep trying it yourself as you pause, rewind, and rewatch.

In Classkick:

  1. Teachers model and students can see it from their own device. Kindergarten teachers model letter creation; High School English teachers model crafting a strong thesis. All of their students watch from their own device.
  2. Students are then invited to try it themselves. During that time, some teachers pull individual students to model for again. Others have stopping points where students must demonstrate mastery and be checked before moving on. All teachers see their students’ work in real-time.

3. Provide Feedback

We crave praise for our efforts, even as adults. Harvard reported that the ideal Praise-to-Criticism ratio is 5.6:1. Our students need that praise from us, in addition to those perfectly timed suggestions for how to improve.

As an instructional coach, one of my favorite teachers would sweep through the room granting praise when they did something well. Students flocked to her because she treated them like adults, praising and encouraging them for every effort, and plainly telling them when they had crossed the line or hadn’t given it their all.

In Classkick, teachers can give individualized, real-time feedback at the moment students need it.

  1. Jot a note with your finger (on iPad) or use a text box (from a web browser) to capture what the student needs to do next. Some teachers circle or underline specific parts of a student’s work and encourage the student to determine how to fix it by consulting a classmate.
  2. Students love receiving stickers. Use Quick Feedbacks both to motivate and to track points earned across an assignment. Some teachers assign the “owl” to indicate the student wrote a “wise” statement, has proven mastery, and is now free to provide feedback to their peers. All students see this feedback instantly and privately.

I’m continually impressed by the creativity and innovation of teachers around the world, and I can’t wait to see the increased student learning this school year will bring!

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