Written feedback allows teachers to internalize theÂ information provided after a classroom observation and formulate opinions regarding how theyÂ wish to respond. Teachers also prefer to respond back to the principal using writtenÂ communication. Teachers also reported they wish to explain the practices that were observedÂ during a classroom visit or the status of the learning environment that generated principalÂ feedback after a classroom observation. Findings of this study also suggest that teachers willÂ change behaviors as a result of principal feedback after classroom observations.
Participants were observed on three different occasions to examine how they would respond toÂ principal feedback after classroom observations. Teachers were observed initially to offerÂ feedback regarding their teaching practices and/or the learning environment that existed duringÂ the classroom observation. Teachers were observed a second time to examine possible responsesÂ to feedback from the first observation. Teachers were also provided additional feedback duringÂ the second observation. Observation number three was conducted to examine any possibleÂ teacher responses to feedback provided during observation number two. Teacher responses toÂ feedback provided during both observation number one and observation number two were examined for purposes of the study.
Analysis of teacher responses to principal feedback after classroom observations suggests thatÂ teachers will change behaviors when they perceive principal feedback suggests that a change inÂ behavior is appropriate. Participants consistently responded with changes in behaviors as a resultÂ of principal feedback from the previous observation. Changes in behavior by participants as aÂ result of principal feedback were in some instances very simple and in others quite complex. Â Some changes in behavior involved simply posting information on the board for students. OtherÂ changes in behavior were as complex as changing an entire teaching strategy. Regardless of theÂ complexity of the change in behavior, teachers consistently demonstrated that principal feedbackÂ after an observation was enough motivation for them to change a behavior.
A Math teacher was provided feedback after the initial observation regarding a student not beingÂ recognized when raising their hand for a question. The student continued to raise their hand forÂ several minutes without being acknowledged. The student also made a comment referencing notÂ being recognized by the teacher. Principal feedback provided to the Math teacher after thisÂ observation inquired about strategies to monitor the progress of students and to address students’Â questions in a timely manner. During the subsequent observation, it was observed that the MathÂ teacher had obviously reflected on the feedback regarding the progress monitoring of students.Â During observation number two, the teacher demonstrated an obvious change in behavior andÂ monitoring strategies as no student experienced a delay in being acknowledged for a question.Â The Math teacher obviously addressed the situation of progress monitoring as mentioned inÂ principal feedback after the previous observation.
An English teacher was observed sitting behind the desk for an extended period of time asÂ students became less engaged in the lesson and more engaged in the social opportunities affordedÂ to them by their classmates. Principal feedback provided to the English teacher after theÂ observation referenced the amount of time spent sitting behind the desk and inquired as to theÂ strategies associated with providing assistance to students during the lesson and how off taskÂ behavior was monitored and addressed. During the next two observations it was evident that theÂ English teacher had taken the comments from the principal seriously and addressed the issue ofÂ spending considerable amounts of time sitting behind the desk. The English teacher moved workÂ materials to the podium located closer to the students and spent more time moving about studentsÂ assisting with the learning and redirecting off-task behaviors. The instructional environment wasÂ more conducive to learning as compared to the initial observation. A simple move out fromÂ behind the desk and increased monitoring time among the students had a significant impact onÂ the learning environment.
Teachers will change their behaviors when they believe principal feedback encourages orÂ suggests a change is appropriate. The task for school leaders is to realize that teachers are internalizing the feedback provided to them after classroom observations and making decisionsÂ how to respond. Findings from this study have implications for school leaders regardingÂ feedback provided to teachers after class observations. Leaders would be well served to considerÂ how feedback provided to teachers is formulated and the message that teachers will receive whenÂ they read and analyze feedback provided to them after class observations. Findings suggestÂ leaders take special consideration when formulating feedback provided to teachers to ensure theÂ message that is intended for teachers is the message that teachers receive when they read andÂ analyze feedback.
Article four of the series “Teacher Responses to Principal Feedback” will address findings thatÂ suggest teachers wish to explain their practices and the learning environment observed duringÂ classroom visits. Teachers respond to principal feedback after classroom observations withÂ written explanations detailing why they were acting in a specific manner during a classroomÂ observation. Teachers also demonstrated their desire to explain the condition of the learningÂ environment during the observation. Some may interpret this as making excuses. Others mayÂ interpret this response as providing details to an existing situation. I discovered that both may beÂ true depending on the observation.
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Be on the LOOKOUT for Article 4: Teachers Respond to Principal Feedback with writtenÂ explanations of the teaching and learning experience.