Feedback for Immediate Impact (Part 2)
In Part 1, we discussed the transformative nature of leaders delivering in-the-moment feedback to teachers. We even shared some examples of how you might provide this type of efficient and meaningful guidance. In Part 2, we will look at the key components for leaders to consider before they begin to practice this real time coaching.
Key Leader Moves While Giving In-the-Moment Feedback:
Before deciding what to say, the leader should take a moment to observe and gather data on the specific teacher actions needed. Teachers deserve clear and precise direction from their leader, so this reflective moment to plan is critical.
When giving in-the-moment feedback, the leader should ensure they face the teacher in close and safe distance, while facing away from students whenever possible. This empowers the teacher and sends a message to their students that the teacher is fully in control. Note: the leader should only model or take over if the situation is unsafe.
When executing the in-the-moment feedback, the leader should consider how their verbal and non-verbal communication models high care and high expectations. Leaders should approach the teacher thoughtfully, ensure a positive tone, and consider how they may include additional, authentic language or moves that allow the teacher to feel supported. For example, the leader may add in a “You’ve got this!” after their commitment to support.
When providing a direction for the teacher, the leader should give more explicit detail when they know the teacher needs it. If the teacher is a novice or has not shown evidence of consistent precise directions, the leader may add the specific components. If Teacher B, the leader may say, “Give a countdown, welcome your class, then state: When I say go, enter the class at a level 0, find your assigned seat and begin your Do Now on the board.”
After providing in-the-moment feedback, the leader should stay to see the teacher perform their direction. If and when their execution makes an impact, the leader should provide a nonverbal or verbal affirmation (thumbs up, “Keep it up!”) to support relationship-building and a coaching culture. Ideally, the leader should also follow up the next day or later in the week to confirm the skill has been built by the teacher without their presence. The leader can grab these moments in the bus lot, in passing by the copy machine, or in other informal spaces – especially as the culture of in-the-moment feedback is being understood and developed.
When developing this feedback skill, the leader may start by considering in-the-moment coaching during key systems (e.g., arrival, transitions, cafeteria). These systems usually include multiple adults and make talking to the teacher (for a minute or less) more seamless.
In-the-moment feedback in the classroom and during instruction is 100% possible as evidenced with Teacher A above. It takes leader practice to ensure precision, a commitment to engaging in-the-moment when a quick but meaningful shift is needed, and a continued focus on delivery that is balanced in high care and high expectations.
Setting the Stage for In-the-Moment Feedback
When leaders commit to giving in-the-moment feedback, they should take the opportunity to provide the why to their staff and share what to expect. Teachers deserve to know how and why feedback may be given differently to what they’re used to, and how this support is meant to make them better for students in-the-moment. It sets the stage for students and staff to grow with intentionality and urgency. The leader should then follow up and shout-out or spotlight teachers who transformed their classroom engagement as a result of the moves they made in-the-moment.
The “Why” Behind In-the-Moment Feedback
In-the-moment feedback is all about elevating a teacher’s practice without taking away from the attention to the students. Remember these 4 simple steps to delivering immediate, impactful feedback:
- Start with an affirmation or acknowledgement
- Follow that up with the expectation
- End with a direction for the teacher to immediately apply
- Name the support you as the leader will provide
Follow these steps consistently, and you will have a school culture that is empowered, supported, and feedback-oriented in no time.
by Meaghan Loftus, Lead Partnership Manager, Associate