Last week I participated in the IB PYP workshop 'Teaching and Learning' where feedback to students was emphasized as as strategy for supporting students in constructing knowledge and skills. I am also currently enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Education course 'Making Learning Visible: The Power of Group Learning and Documentation in Classrooms and Communities' where we have examined the power of teacher and peer feedback in the context of group learning. I am currently exploring and researching this in my Pre-Kindergarten classroom and wrote a post about it last week.
All of these things have caused me to think more deeply about the feedback that I receive as a teacher - where it comes from, who it comes from, and what effect it has on my teaching and practice.
When cleaning my classroom this past week, our auntie* stopped me and said:
"I love to come to your classroom. When I come my heart feels open and also my brain. Sometimes life is difficult and my heart feels pain but then I come here and everything is happy and open."
*Auntie is a commonly used term in Singapore for older women signalling respect.
- I am absolutely touched and honoured by it, and
- It really caused me to think about my practice and our learning community in a more extended way.
Often when I think about the learning community, I think about students, families and teaching staff. But what about the rest of the community? Are they not also part of the learning (and feedback) process?
The feedback our auntie gave made me consider who I look to and seek out for feedback. It made me wonder: Can this be extended? To who? How?
As Dylan Wiliam says "Feedback should cause thinking". And indeed, the best feedback always makes me think. It clarifies and consolidates. It urges me to probe further, wonder more, and extend in new directions. And last week, for me, this feedback did just that.