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Outstanding Lessons, Thursday Thunks

Feedback Matters #ThursdayThunk

The road to great feedback is paved with good intentions and broken teachers.  The idea of feedback sounds so simple and easy yet it has become a triple coloured workload nightmare in many schools.  It’s not often a policy excites me but I thought the two Feedback Policies I received this week, one written for our primary academies and the other for our secondary academy, showed a mountain of common sense.

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

They both started with a few “we believe” statements which nailed the key principles underlying the policy and give essential direction to teachers’ work.  These are the statements for Christ the King and St. Cuthbert’s Catholic Academies policy:

  • Feedback delivered closest to the point of action is most effective, and as such feedback delivered in lessons is more effective than comments provided at a later date
  • Feedback is provided both to teachers and pupils as part of assessment processes in the classroom and takes many forms including written comments, MAD time, verbal feedback
  • All pupils work should be reviewed by teachers at the earliest appropriate opportunity to that it might impact on future learning.  When work receives written feedback it should be acknowledged by the recipient
  • The sole focus of feedback should be to further all children’s learning
  • Written comments should be used where they are accessible to pupils according to age and ability

Feedback “close to the point of action”, that is close to the point of first teaching, that provides information to the teacher about her/his teaching and the pupil about her/his learning – love it.

St. Mary’s policy had “at its foundation the work of the Education Endowment Foundation toolkit (EEF toolkit) which shows that feedback has a large impact in terms of improving pupil progression and with little cost”.  EEF research suggests that feedback should be:

  • Specific, accurate and clear (e.g. “It was good because you…” rather than just “correct”);
  • Compare what a learner is doing right now with what they have done wrong before (e.g. “I can see you were focused on improving X as it is much better than last time’s Y…”);
  • Encourage and support further effort and be given sparingly so that it is meaningful;
  • Provide specific guidance on how to improve and not just tell pupils when they are wrong;
  • Be supported with effective professional development for teachers.

This table is included in the policy to guide staff.  Just read as a great common sense approach.

2016-10-12-feedback-table

Literacy Codes

The following codes were agreed for use in “Key Stage One and for those who require additional support at any point in their learning journey through our schools”The code is placed in the margin only and the exact location of the error is not identified.   The aim of this feedback practice is to ensure that our pupils work hard to find the error and correct it

2016-10-12-literacy-code

From Key Stage Two to 6th Form) the same process is used but the codes are reduced.  Punctuation error is identified with a “p” and a grammar error with a “g”.  The aim is to ensure that pupils have to put even more thought into finding the  error and correcting it.

#ThursdayThunk is based on something I’ve been thinking about, discussing, working on or has been topical that week.  The thunk is designed to be bite sized and will deliberately be kept short.  It will take one small issue or an aspect of something much bigger.  The intention is for it to be read in two/three minutes as you’re busy running around at the end of the week or relaxing on your day off.

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