Teacher Observation Feedback: The Do’s and Don’ts

It’s that time of year again! The time when teachers start getting observations from their principals and instructional coaches. While getting feedback is always a good thing, sometimes the way that feedback is delivered can make all the difference in the world. Here are some do’s and don’ts for giving feedback to teachers after an observation.

DO give specific, actionable items that the teacher can work on.

DON’T just say “you need to be more engaging.” While that may be true, it’s not very helpful. Try something like this instead: “I noticed that during direct instruction, you were mostly reading from the textbook. To make your lessons more engaging, try presenting the material in a different way. For example, you could use a PowerPoint presentation or create a video to supplement your lesson.”

DO focus on the positive.

DON’T just list everything that the teacher did wrong. Try to find at least one or two things that the teacher did well and give specific praise for those things. For example, “I noticed that you were really able to keep the students engaged during your small group work time. Great job!” This will help the teacher feel good about what they’re doing right and motivate them to continue doing those things well.

DO offer suggestions for how the teacher can improve.

DON’T just tell the teacher what they need to improve without offering any suggestions on how to do so. If you have specific ideas, share them! For example, “In the future, when you’re planning your lessons, try to think of ways to incorporate more hands-on activities.” This will help the teacher feel like you’re truly invested in their success and not just there to point out their flaws.

Principals and instructional coaches should aim to be clear, concise, and positive when giving feedback to teachers after an observation. By following these guidelines, they can help ensure that teachers feel valued and supported in their efforts to improve their practice continuously.

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