It can be hard, if not impossible, to carve out time to observe colleagues during the school year, but the summer might provide a perfect opportunity to do this reflective work. You might not have access to summer school classrooms, but if you've got an internet connection, you can do this activity at home.
Review the chart of effective (and ineffective) feedback practices (McMillan, 2014). Then, find a teacher to observe. This can be in a summer school classroom or online. Teacher Tube and Annenburg Learner are great resources for finding videos of teaching. Observe the teaching, and make note of examples of the effective and effective practices you observe.
|Use challenging yet attainable goals||Use goals that are too high or too low|
|Emphasize mastery goal orientation||Emphasize performance goal orientation|
|Ensure that feedback is clear, transparent, and easily understood||Use feedback that is unclear and/or difficult to understand|
|Compare student performance to standards, criteria, cognitive strategies and precious performance||Compare student performance to the performance of other students or emphasize the person rather than the task|
|Use a moderate amount of specific, individualized, and descriptive feedback||Use general or vague feedback|
|Give feedback as soon as possible especially for simple cognitive tasks, tests , and other assignments||Give delayed feedback, except for slightly delayed feedback for cognitively complex tasks, especially for high achievers|
|Use both verification and elaboration feedback||Use only verification feedback|
|Match feedback to student ability||Use the same feedback for all students|
|Focus on key errors and misunderstandings||Ignore key errors|
|Emphasize effort attributions||Emphasize external attributions|
|Give feedback as students learn||Give feedback only after performance|
|Anticipate probable feedback messages||Rely on unplanned or unanticipated feedback|
If you're watching videos, you are highly encouraged to do this work on a porch, with a refreshing drink, while the sun is shining :)
After completing this activity, make sure to reflect on your own practices as they relate to praise and formative feedback. What are two things you could make a plan to do next year that will help your students move forward in their learning through your use of formative feedback and praise? Write them down in that notebook of great ideas you keep all summer (you have one of those right? to keep track of the brilliant brainstorms you have while you're on the boat, driving the kids to soccer, or standing over the grill but are sure to forget once back-to-school workshops start? yeah, that one!). Return to these ideas in the weeks leading up to school and throughout September to keep a focus on effective praise and feedback.
reference: McMillan, J. H. (2014). Classroom assessment: Principles and practice for effective standards-based instruction (6th ed,). Boston, MA: Pearson.