Thanks for the Feedback

In the most recent parent survey, many families asked to hear more about teaching and learning at Latin. So, each month we will include a more in-depth description of a current initiative related to enhancing the educational experience for all students.

One aspect of excellent teaching we have been thinking a lot about is feedback: Who gets it and when? For what purpose? And what do we do with the feedback once we get it? When I first arrived in the academic studies office, priority one was student feedback. While the School has been getting feedback from students for many years, teachers and administrators wanted a more systematic way to collect, analyze, and share feedback from students.

We have since piloted an online feedback survey of the student experience in classrooms for grades 5-12. One shift we made was to move from the notion of evaluation to feedback.

Students are the experts when it comes to their experience in our classrooms. Therefore, they are in the best position to tell us about their learning. Last year we piloted an online system based on the MET Study of effective teaching, and we talked about how to give feedback with both teachers and students. Sometimes we assume that giving and receiving feedback is just a natural occurrence, but the art and science of feedback is a learned skill that takes both direction and practice. This year we are working with a data analysis professional to review our survey and ensure its effectiveness. Stay tuned for more on this effort.

During the training for new online feedback system for the adults working at Latin, we learned that we are just one of 7 schools in their national cohort who have made it a priority to improve student feedback systems. While we may be at the forefront, we remain committed to enhancing our feedback loops as we know it’s a key element for sustained improvement. Many of our teachers and administrators are currently reading Thanks for the Feedback and having discussions about how we can continue to grow professionally. As the authors note, receiving feedback will never be easy, but it can always be better.