Lesson Observation Feedback: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid
When it comes to writing effective feedback for our colleagues, the research is there – Be timely, be honest, be specific – but there are some common mistakes for lesson observation feedback that are best avoided to make sure we are making lesson observations as useful as they should be.
4 Common Lesson Observation Feedback Mistakes to Avoid:
1. Making it Personal
When you observe colleague, there is always the risk of imparting your own opinion on their methods. Your comments should be about their achievements or shortcomings professionally, and a way to show them areas where they can perform better by utilising their strengths and overcoming all weaknesses. Before actually passing on the feedback, positive or negative, review with yourself if your comments are based on your personal preferences or the teaching standards and objectives set out within your organisation.
2. Pre-emptive Biases
If you are observing the same colleague a number of times, or a long-standing colleague, it’s easy to form an opinion on how that colleague has performed over time and fall into the trap of imposing this view on your feedback from the outset. Development can be both positive and negative – some colleagues may have improved drastically from before, whilst other previously effective colleagues may have slowly deteriorated or become complacent. It is important to stay objective when writing observations for your colleagues in order to ensure the lesson observation feedback is always able to develop your team.
3. One-Sided Feedback
This may seem like an obvious one, but lesson observation feedback that focuses only on one side of the scale doesn’t give your colleague a rounded picture of their performance. Some observers may avoid giving negative feedback as they don’t know how to approach their colleagues – and in some cases, their friends. Only positive feedback can lead to a skewed image of high performance and so performance stays the same. On the other hand, only negative feedback can completely demotivate and alienate. They might feel their achievements have been ignored or the focus has been on their failures. Effective feedback helps develop that persons performance, so avoid this common mistake to ensure your lesson observation feedback is as valuable as it can be.
4. Offering One-Sided Solutions
This is one of the most common mistakes, as we feel we are helping. If you have negative comments, or an observation where you suggest some improvements/changes be made, try to avoid offering your own solution without offering to discuss with your colleague post-observation. When working collaboratively towards a solution or development goal, your colleague(s) will feel empowered and therefore will more likely take initiative to develop their own performance. Including your co-workers in their own personal growth shows that you truly care about their growth as much as they do.
In Summary: Say what you see!
This article has looked at the most common mistakes faced when observing members of our team. In sum, be objective, be honest, and be mindful of not only the content of your feedback, but also its impact.
Check out our other articles for further guidance on giving successful feedback, as well as some free templates to get you started.