Much has been written about the importance of effective feedback. After all, what’s the point of going through the trouble of conducting observations and assessments if the feedback that follows is ineffective? In order to be truly useful, feedback must be prioritized, specific, actionable, and have a supportive tone. Additionally, it’s important to give feedback as soon after an evaluation so that it is still fresh in the minds of those being observed.
1. Prioritized: In order for feedback to be effective, it must be given in priority order. The most important points should be addressed first, followed by the second most important, and so on. This allows those receiving the feedback to have a clear understanding of what needs to be improved upon and why.
2. Specific: Feedback should always be specific. Vague comments such as “you need to do better” or “good job” are unhelpful and do nothing to improve performance. Instead, focus on specific behaviors that were observed. For example, “I noticed that you made sure to greet each student by name as they entered the classroom,” or “I noticed that you gave clear instructions and allowed for student questions before starting the lesson.”
3. Actionable: For feedback to be truly effective, it must be actionable. This means that it should provide concrete suggestions for how to improve. For example, “In the future, I suggest starting your lesson with a review of the previous day’s material so that students are better prepared for what’s to come,” or “I suggest providing more opportunities for student participation so that everyone has a chance to share their ideas.”
4. Have a supportive tone: How feedback is delivered is just as important as the content of the feedback itself. It’s important to maintain a supportive tone so that those receiving the feedback don’t feel defensive or discouraged. Try using phrases such as “I noticed that you did X which is great because…” or “It looks like you’re struggling with Y – I’m here to help!”
5. Be given as soon after an evaluation/assessment as possible: timing is everything when giving feedback. It’s important to give feedback soon after an evaluation so that it is still fresh in the minds of those being observed. This allows them to make any necessary changes while they are still in the habit of doing things the old way. Waiting too long to give feedback runs the risk of it being forgotten entirely or seen as less relevant.
Feedback is an essential part of any observation or assessment process. For it to be truly effective, however, it must be done right. Feedback must be prioritized, specific, actionable, have a supportive tone, and be given promptly. When all of these elements are present, feedback can be an incredibly powerful tool for improving performance and driving results.