The Art of Reflective Feedback

I have come to learn that reflective feedback plays a major role in learning.  The key to opening up more opportunities for learning for teachers is to utilize the appropriate form of reflective feedback.  According to a study done by Costa & Garmston, feedback usually is given in the following forms:

Options for reflective feedback

  1. Clarifying questions or statements for better understanding
  2. Feedback statements that identify value or value potential
  3. Feedback to mediate thinking through the use of reflective questions for possibilities

Another necessary part of providing reflective feedback questions should be to presume positive intent.  Whenever you presume reflective thinking on the part of educators you run the risk of causing a teacher to withdraw.  Once the language of positive presupposition is a part of one’s natural way of speaking and thinking, the use of reflective questions is as natural and easy as finding a word dictionary.

Questioning with Positive Presupposition

Examples Non-Examples

As you examine the data, what are some of your findings?

Did you look at the data?

When you think about your students’ needs, what strategies might be most appropriate?

Do you know what your students need?

While you monitor student learning, what are some indicators of success you look for?

Are you planning to assess student learning in this lesson?

In considering multiple instructional strategies, how did you decide cooperative learning was best for this lesson?

Did you think cooperative learning was the best strategy for this lesson?

Action Items

Try these strategies next time you work with teachers as you refine your art of reflective feedback.

  • Use positive presuppositions that presume a person has capacity, positive intention, desire, and prior and ongoing consideration.
  • Honor the speaker by demonstrating belief or trust in the speaker.
  • Model acceptance and respect

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