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Guidelines for Effective Use of Feedback

by Roger Neugebauer
July/August 1983
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/guidelines-for-effective-use-of-feedback/5003201/

One of the most critical challenges facing a child care director is improving staff performance. A variety of tools are available to help a director meet this challenge: in-house training, annual appraisals, workshops, conferences, college classes, and training films. One of the least glamorous of these tools, providing feedback, is, in fact, the most effective.

With proper feedback, teachers can better control and improve their own performance; without proper feedback, teachers operate blindly, not knowing when their efforts succeed or fail. According to George F. J. Lehner, “... feedback helps to make us more aware of what we do and how we do it, thus increasing our ability to modify and change our behavior ... " (Lehner).

Just how blindly teachers operate without feedback was demonstrated in a study at the University of Michigan (McFadden). Twenty pre-school teachers were interviewed about their teaching philosophies and methods. They all expressed a preference for teaching based on the discovery model. They expressed attitudes favoring a non-authoritarian, nondirective approach by the teacher. They preferred to show verbal concern and approval rather than disapproval. This was how they described their teaching.
Yet when they were actually observed in the classroom their behavior was quite different. Observers ...

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