Teachers are Learners Too

Initially, after watching Bill Gates Ted Talk on teacher feedback, I did not know what to think. I tried to imagine myself as a teacher and how I would feel if my class was videoed. On one hand, I recognized the importance of being videoed, but on the other hand, what if I’m a terrible teacher and then I have to watch everything I do wrong? After weighing the pros and cons of this idea in my head, I decided it would be necessary to do a little more research before coming to any conclusion.

The following video displays a school that participates in teacher feedback.

https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/improving-teacher-performance

Unlike what Bill Gates discusses in his Ted Talk, this school participates in multiple measures of teacher feedback, which they believe leads to effective teaching. This school has three components that make up their version of teacher feedback.

  1. Observation
  2. Coaching
  3. Student Feedback

Observation feedback is when a supervisor sits in on a class and uses a rubric to rate the teacher and write successes and suggestions that they observe. Then, after the class is finished the teacher and supervisor have a conference to discuss what the supervisor observed. I personally am a supporter on this kind of feedback. I believe that outsiders have a much different perspective then one has for oneself. I know personally that a lot of times I am too hard on myself, or I don’t catch things I do wrong. By having someone who isn’t in the classroom every day take notes on what I do, I would be able to benefit a lot.

Next, the video describes the coaching aspect of their teacher feedback. This combines the idea of having classrooms videoed for reflective learning and also real-time instructional coaching. The classroom videoing is what Bill Gates describes in his Ted Talk, but real-time instructional coaching is when another teacher, who has more experience in the classroom, sits in the back of the class and feeds suggestions and ideas for the teacher to do in the moment of instruction. By using real-time coaching, teachers can fix errors in the moment, rather than noticing and correcting them later. This idea was very strange to me but also makes a lot of sense. Although it could be distracting and nerve-racking to have someone telling you what to do, and when to do it, it also could be very beneficial. Personally, I learn better in the moment. By having someone giving me suggestions as I go and knowing that I have support to be successful could be very comforting.

Lastly, this school uses student surveys as a form of feedback. Personally, I think this feedback is most important. Since students are the ones experiencing the teacher everyday and know how they learn best (to some degree), by hearing their feedback, teachers can be more effective. Because every class is diverse and has unique needs, having student feedback can be extremely useful.

Overall, after seeing more examples of teacher feedback, I think it can be very beneficial. Everyone needs feedback. Feedback is how people improve. Bill Gates discussed how the U.S. is extremely behind educationally. I always knew that we weren’t number one, but after hearing Bill Gates state the statistics, reading the following article,

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/03/us-test-scores_n_4374075.html

and seeing this image,

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I realized how serious of an issue this is.  For being known as such a powerful country, the U.S. really needs to step up how it educates its future generations. Furthermore, this past week I learned and discussed the importance of implementing technology in the classroom for students, so it should also be used to benefit the teachers. Incorporating technology for teacher feedback, such as video cameras, can really help make more effective teachers. Learning is a continuous, life-long process. Just because teachers are held responsible to teach future generations does not mean that they should stop their learning to become more effective and influential teachers.

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