Our study of the teacher feedback experience can be considered a first order of feedback itself—reflecting the actual experiences of classroom teachers grappling with how best to process and apply feedback from newly introduced formal evaluations and assessments and from highly-valued but unstructured sources of feedback that teachers receive and act on in practice. Teachers place their relationships with students and like-minded peers at the core of everything they do. The feedback exchanged in these relationships generates knowledge teachers feel is crucial to their own learning and growth, and in turn to their students’ learning and growth. For teachers, new formal measures and everyday feedback have not yet begun to work together to create a platform that helps them reach their full potential.
The question before us now is how to build adaptable, nimble feedback systems to keep pace with a continuous climate of change. How can teachers, schools and districts “get better, faster, by working together in flexible but enduring relationships where collective performance rapidly increases and new knowledge accumulates over time?”1
We can learn a lot about adaptation from teachers [and students] who live it every day through collaboration and inspiration. Yet they must believe they can play a meaningful role in the bigger, broader systemic changes taking place. The system must rely on their expertise as much as it does on the layers of disconnected formal practices and procedures created by others. If just one outcome is clear from this report, it’s that to empower effective teaching we must first empower effective feedback.
1 Adapted from The Power of Pull, John Hagel, 2010