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The Formative Feedback Project is a collaborative curation of best practices in educational strategies, ideas, resources. Specializing in student ownership, engagement, feedback loops and collaborative, effective feedback.

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Feedback & Flying

Taylor Meredith

Giving my dad feedback at the age of two. 

Giving my dad feedback at the age of two. 

A few weeks ago I had lunch with my dad. My dad is a man of many passions. His passions are his hobbies: collecting vintage boat engines (to go with vintage wooden boats, naturally) golf, Scuba diving and flying twin-engine airplanes. Over sandwiches, I was discussing my passion, feedback, and he was questioning the impact of feedback relationships at schools (student-teacher, student-student, teacher-teacher, teacher-admin). I decided to compare feedback in a school to feedback in a cockpit. I asked my dad what would happen if he was struggling with an instruments test and his flight instructor gave him ineffective feedback (pull, turn, add power) or no feedback. His answer? You would crash. And maybe die. My subconscious knew that. I knew the answer. But hearing him say it, say it out loud, really resonated with both of us. I then asked him to consider the alternate. What would happen if he was struggling with an instruments test and his flight instructor gave him effective feedback (nudge the throttle back and turn 5 degrees). His answer? You would fly.

Analogies aside, this is what feedback does for our students and for us as teachers, administrators, leaders and a community. We need feedback. Without effective feedback, we crash. We become complacent, we focus on problems and not solutions. We don’t get better because we don’t know we need to get better. We don’t grow. With effective feedback, we fly. We take ownership over our learning. We solve problems. We take risks and are unafraid to fail because we know that ultimately we will learn something. We grow. 

This is why feedback is something I am passionate about. Like most educators that I know I always strive to be the best that I can be for my students and the only way this can be done is through feedback.

Welcome to my flight plan, flight log and a record of disasters and adventures. As always: feedback please. 

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