Feedback and the Messages We Send to Our Students

By: Kate Jacobs, Inclusive Instructional Specialist

We become teachers because we love  affecting students in a positive way, sending the message they can achieve and be successful. Students need confidence to grow, and learn.  Students needed validation for their efforts, and encouragement to keep working hard. This is building their growth-mindset.

As teachers we give students the message that they can persevere through their struggles. We ask ourselves how do I send messages that support students to believe they can be successful throughout the day. We can do this by providing constant, consistent, and supportive feedback.

This is particularly important for students who struggles across the day behaviorally, academically, and socially. For these students providing feedback is critical for them to understand what is expected for them to improve. Feedback in my opinion can be given in supportive way that even allows students to have control choice of what kind of feedback they receive. The terms I like to use with students are called  “glows” and “grows”. Glow is what the student did well in, and the grow area is what the students needed to continue to work on.  

For example, “Would you like the glow feedback? Or the grow feedback first? If a student puts their head down the feedback should be immediate “Pick your head up, you can do it, I believe in you”   “Wow great job you did not give up when things get tough instead you said to yourself “I can do it” What a glow!

Providing students immediate structured and supportive feedback in way that is acknowledging their strengths and identifying their areas of growth provides students the opportunity to take control of their own learning. Students want to be successful, and grow. Giving feedback to students about their learning that will support their growth as a scholar at Cambridge Public Schools will impact not only their ability to receive feedback, but also the ability to see themselves as lifelong learners. We all learn differently, but everyone get’s feedback and that’s what helps us improve as scholars.  As the summer quickly is approaching us, and we are trying our very best to teach students to look in the mirror and recognize for themselves who they are, and what they need to continue to work on. Take this opportunity to provide feedback before summer vacation. Give them feedback about their grow areas and their glow areas.  So when they leave they have a clear understanding of what they need to improve on.  With respect, encouragement, and validation feedback is a valuable and impactful tool.  
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