Feed Teachers with Feedback!  

November 27, 2013
When I was a high school science teacher, I participated in the Adolescent Literacy Project at ESU 10.  While I learned some effective strategies for teaching reading comprehension and vocabulary that year, the most valuable part of the project was the opportunity to go into other teachers’ classrooms (Learning Walk) and observe them practice the art of teaching.  It was so much fun and I learned so much by seeing my colleagues in action!  I benefited even more by having those same teachers watch me teach a lesson, acknowledge my skills and offer suggestions for polishing my craft.
My position as an Instructional Coach last year provided me with another opportunity to observe teachers in action. Three other coaches and I worked with 47 teachers who had received training on guided scientific inquiry. We were there to encourage the teachers by providing resources and feedback so that they would be successful when they implemented their new lessons.  

Recently I was lucky enough to join ESU 10’s Emily Jameson and the Ansley Public Schools staff in their fall Learning Walks for the Adolescent Literacy Project.  While I wasn’t the one to benefit from the feedback this time, I was witness to the positive experience that this was for those teachers!  I saw the pride in their faces when someone on the Learning Walk team noticed the great things that were happening in their lesson.  And I saw the serious consideration when a suggestion was made that could help the teacher be even more successful.  It is apparent to me that good teachers always want to get better!  

The Adolescent Literacy Project is no different than any other instructional initiative that a school may have.  Nor is it different than an isolated teacher who attends a workshop or conference and learns a new strategy or technology skill.  In both cases there are teachers who are learning something new and wish to successfully implement that new thing.  In fact, in my position I see teachers trying out new technology ideas every day.  The key to successful implementation regardless of the strategy is to have a safety net of sorts in place.  Oprah Winfrey said, “We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Learning Walk teams, Technology Integration Specialists and Instructional Coaches all provide that support for teachers who are striving to be the best they can be, and when that happens, the real winners are our students!

-by Peg Coover, ESU 10 Technology Integration Coordinator