Feeding Back to Feed Learning Forward!

Feedback iconMonday saw only the school's teachers and leaders return to school for Blue Coat's fourth (of 5) allocated INSET day. Children would probably smirk to see the school's staff occupying the same seats that they sit in in classrooms(!), but the truth is that INSET days are invaluable opportunities to get the school's teaching staff together for training and professional dialogues as to how we can do what we do better for our children.

Monday's INSET was focussed on Teaching (once again!) and one particular area of our Big 4: 'Feedback'. We looked at the undeniable value of feedback in the learning process. Quite simply, feedback is one of, if not THE, most important thing that all learners of any age need in order to get better at what they are learning. Several recent and influential research studies have shown this to be the case.

When looking at what makes 'feedback' we used latest thinking to split this term into a 3-stage process:

  1. Feed Up: 'What is my goal? / What am I aiming to achieve?'
  2. Feed Back: 'How much progress have I made towards this goal? / How close am I to achieving it?'
  3. Feed Forward: 'What do I need to do next time to get better at this?'

We considered not only how teaching adults are involved in this process but how the learner themselves can become independent in it, along with the support that peers can provide at each stage.

We then considered this process by looking at 3 key areas where children are provided with feedback on their learning:

  • In lessons through quality teaching and learning
  • In books through feedback marking 
  • In the learning environments that the children occupy

Throughout the INSET, the teaching team looked at new ideas, shared their own tried and tested successful ones, and resolved what it was that they would be developing over the coming weeks to improve the quality and timeliness of the feedback that our pupils receive.

The next step is to let these new ideas take root around the school with some sharp monitoring by leaders and governors to check the impact that they're having on how our children learn.

Parents: please be on the look out for 'feedback' next time you step foot in classrooms and when you are looking through your child's books. I'm hopeful that the children will be able to explain to you how it all works and makes a difference to their learning!