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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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Choose your own adventure part 2

Taylor Meredith

After nine years of teaching, I had a feedback epiphany.

I did. I realized that feedback (both positive and negative, effective and ineffective) is at the crux of my development. I don’t develop without feedback. So I ask for it. I give it to myself and I have started the Formative Feedback Project to learn with you.

 A few months ago I asked my superintendent for feedback.

I did this too. Our feedback system is very impersonal. It is a series of checkmarks in an email received after a principal visit. There are no observations, suggestions or action plans. So I decided to ask for all this from my Superintendent and the other colleagues that observe or pop-into my classroom.

 What is The Formative Feedback Project?

It is a space designed for a collaboration and collection of ideas.  Where educators can problem-solve, contribute to a feedback loop and self-reflect. I take ideas from some of my favorite thinkers and we can apply them to our own unique situations.

 The only thing worse than no feedback is fake feedback.

This is so true. “Good job!” “You guys are so close to doing this” “I feel like great things are happening here.” “Classroom management could be stronger” What!? None of this means anything. Whether it is identifying what works or giving someone an idea or strategy to consider, fake feedback fails. It doesn’t motivate, inspire or teach.  It’s the worst.

 In my classroom there are no punishments, no rewards, just feedback.

Also true. Since I am a big “why” asker – I have studied the science of motivation (Thanks Daniel Pink, Carol Dweck and Malcolm Gladwell). I have also studied the science of the brain (Helloooo, John Medina) and I am a John Hattie believer (thanks Mom). Rewards don’t increase motivation. Punishments don’t motivate either. But feedback works.

 "You’re a teacher, how cute” “Your classroom looks….interesting” and other things I have heard as an educator.

This is a post in and of itself. Have you collected any gems over the years?

I love Reading and Writing Workshop.

I do, I really really do. I love anything that comes from Teacher’s College, especially because I love the challenge of tailoring things to meet the needs of my students and my teaching style. I backwards plan (hey Grant Wiggins) and love Brookhart & Moss’s take on formative assessment. I also LOVE Falling in Love with Close Reading by Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts. It is an invigorating text that has seriously changed the way my students and I engage in reading and life. (Thanks @iChrisLehman and @teachkate!) And my newest love? GENIUS HOUR.

If you asked my students to describe me in three words they would say…

Well, I will ask them. Any predictions?

Growing up I was in a group called Future Problem Solvers and now I am an actual problem solver.

True. It was my favorite part of elementary school. (Thanks, Mrs. Thompson!) I like fixing things. I thrive on identifying solutions for problems and creating action plans.

I wasn’t an education major.

I wasn’t. I majored in Policy Studies at Syracuse University. I specialized in Education Policy. I am still deeply interested and involved with understanding and having opinions about education policy. I believe my experience in urban and suburban public schools have given me invaluable perspective when educating myself on policy in this country as well as abroad. 

Where should we go next? Feedback, please

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