Do Teachers Need Real Feedback?

This TED Talk gives great insight about getting feedback, and improving over time through practice. Bill Gates discusses how teachers are the ones who need the most important feedback to help them improve their practices. A surprising statistic to me was that until recently, 98% teachers got one word of feedback, satisfactory. That is not a complete evaluation of someone’s effectiveness as an educator, nor fair to the students who receive any type of education.

The US is currently ranked fifteenth for reading proficiency. Eleven out of fourteen countries ranked for reading have feedback for teachers about reading proficiency, but in the US we are failing to give teachers skills they need to improve their practices. In China, younger teachers watch older teachers talk, and they require them to observe and give feedback. I definitely agree with this system. I think having a “coach” or “mentor” should be a staple for all school districts. Teaching is not an easy profession, and by having others mentor you to help with professional growth seems like an ideal system. No one is perfect at their job, but by continuing to give the support that new educators need, we can better our own education system.

In order to get measures of effective teaching, there are observers who watch teachers in the classroom and how they engage with students – challenging questions, multiple explanations, surveys for students – teachers who did well had better student outcomes. Teachers also said the videos and surveys were helpful for them. A teacher can learn a lot from a video and help grow in the profession. Being able to observe yourself allows you to be conscious of how you are teaching, and reflect on your own methods. I personally think this would help me along as I can see what works and does’t work in a classroom. The most effective way to become a better educator is by continuously practicing and trying new things. By taping yourself, you are also getting feedback from others in the profession who may be veterans at what they do or think in a different manner. This article discusses the ideas of effective teaching and learning in a classroom environment.

In my opinion, building a complete teacher feedback improvement system is such a beneficial idea for the school system in general. Even though teachers may not be comfortable with a camera in the classroom as Bill mentioned, it is still such a valid idea. With time, this system could grow. With the current edTPA in order for lisencure, they can become more comfortable with a camera and practicing how to monitor themselves. Click to learn more about the edTPA here.

While this system requires an investment that many may not be willing to make, it is “less than 2% we spend on teacher salaries every year.” This investment would have an important benefit for the country by make sure that all students get a great education and have a chance to fulfill their dreams in life. This would help make the United States a more fair and just country in comparison to other leaders in education, and allow the students of the future survival in other places of the world.

Teachers deserve feedback and response to their methods, and I think Bill Gates has such an important point. While this scares me a little bit, I think that’s okay. As a future educator, I am open to feedback and challenges to improve my methods over time. As we talked about in class this week, we will be teaching a new generation of students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. The International Society for Technology in Education describes the standards for teachers, and one of them is to engage in professional growth and leadership. The idea of teachers getting real feedback perfectly aligns with this standard. By continuing to foster professional growth in the education system, we are looking towards a fulfilling education that all students deserve. A complete list of standards can be found by clicking on this link.

By creating a modern and up to date system for evaluating teachers, we are furthering the growth of the education field and leaning towards a world constantly shaped by technology. The reading for this week focused on the Universal Design of Learning and fostering each individuals’ needs. If we have a modern system using technology to give feedback to all educators, we are giving the students the best type of education they can get. Using technology to help students who need certain supports is helping to advance their education and allow them to be the best learners they can be. This link further talks about Gates’ plan to fund the process of videotaping teachers to gain valuable feedback.

While this plan of “effective feedback” greatly impacts m future as an educator, I think it does in the most beneficial way possible. When I go into this field, I want to know that the support is there to benefit myself and my students day by day. If that means more licensure or continuing my process to become certified, I will do that so I can continue my passion of teaching students with disabilities. I don’t think this should draw anyone away from the profession, but rather excite them for what’s to come in the future.


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