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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Data and Questions

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


April 15, 2013

For the month of April, the Sustaining the Journey will focus on the Five Forms of Feedback. Each week we will provide information for you to consider in deepening your understanding of this concept.

On Day 4 of the Foundation Seminar® participants learn that offering data and mediative questions in the spirit of coaching is more productive to learning than giving evaluative feedback. A recent participant offers a rich example of her insights from changing from evaluation to coaching.

Following is an example of me attempting to use more effective feedback as in Data and Questioning with a math teacher who teaches with kids in straight rows and straight demonstration and overhead projector work:

Me: “You said your students are not all ‘getting’ the concept of absolute values, you want to conference individually with them to see where they are, and out of 32 6th graders, you predict you have 5 to 6 different levels of understanding of this concept. What are you going to do?”

She worked on this for a few days, and began to try grouping in different ways and peer coaching by kids, which meant really moving the furniture around, and found it’s more effective for her to conference with these groups—the thinking is heard, shared, and grows. Her classroom management practices were already sound, so she was able to implement this transition with minimal issues in that component. She’s seen these structures all over school, but had resisted. Maybe this feedback sparked her change, along with the dynamic of beginning a new school year. I’m not sure, but feedback in this form certainly seems to have more power.

What meaning do you make of this example?

How might this situation relate to some you face?

What are some factors that stop you from using data and questions?

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