Wednesday, September 18, 2013

TL: Students Deserve Honest, Yet Sensitive Feedback

The school year is off to a great start-- my new co-teacher is awesome, we're establishing consistent routines and procedures and my new curriculum is engaging, as well rigorous and thorough. In addition to rolling out our intense unit on the second day of school, we are also actively establishing our classroom culture as we revise, add on and re-teach expectations and procedures. It is a lot of work!  Sixth graders need structure, structure and structure.  It takes time to teach procedures so that they are rooted enough to last the whole year. Our challenge so far is to condense and teach lessons that are meant for longer class periods, as well as teach to our classroom culture. Nonetheless, are getting it done!

I'll post some classroom photos soon. Yesterday, I had a mini realization. I realized that students want honest feedback even if its something they don't want to hear. I was giving feedback during one of our many group discussion based lessons, and I focused on the positive about a particular group. They then self-assessed and shared their negative which is that a specific group member was not participating. I had noticed this and addressed it with little success.  While I didn't want to call out a specific student and focus on the negative when the rest of the group was great, they wanted and expected me too.

Teacher lesson: honest, though sensitive feedback is key. Likewise, when it came to the group that had conflicts most of the period-- from who would be the group manager and why to how the note taker was taking notes-- I addressed their struggles while giving them acknowledgement for getting it together in the end, as evidenced by the work they produced. 

I realize my tendency to focus on the positive is part who I am, and part six years as a special educator teaching 12:1:1 classes. However, in my new inclusion setting, the students are not as fragile and deserve honest, yet sensitive feedback.   

Miss M

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