The Art of Giving Effective Feedback

Discover how to transform your feedback approach to foster continuous improvement and development in your mentees and students.

Over the years in education, we’ve all experienced great feedback, poor feedback, and even a complete lack of feedback at different points. Often, the feedback given was the best the person could provide at the time, but it wasn’t always what we really needed. Too often in education, we get so hung up on following a specific formula, including every piece of it, that we don’t listen with full attention. This often results in more of a stock answer than a personalized and truly helpful one.

Recently, I came across an article that helped me greatly in determining how much feedback to give. This, in turn, allows me to formulate valuable feedback on the fly based on what I hear and the relationship that adds valuable information to the interaction. Though the article specifically addresses mentoring new teachers, the guidance provided is actionable in any feedback or support scenario.

The key takeaway is well captured in a graphic that emphasizes utilizing relationships and deep listening to determine the appropriate level of support and challenge to provide. Too much support with too little challenge can lead to “confirmation” or to the teacher believing “that their current knowledge and abilities are adequate because the mentor never questions their decisions or outcomes.” If this is correct for the scenario, it’s great. If not, you may have inadvertently encouraged practices that need to change.

Your relationship with the mentee or student will inform the correct amount of challenge you can provide. This will help them push through cognitive dissonance without shutting down, which can cause “retreat.” The graphic and supporting text can aid you in shaping feedback (support and challenge) as you scaffold your way toward a relationship that allows for constant residency in the “Growth” section, fueled by high support and high challenge.

Referenced article:

Pat Hausammann is the Supervisor of Instructional Technology for Clarke County Public Schools.

Connect with Us

Sign up for great resources, timely notifications, and more!