Educators, like all other professionals, stand to benefit from feedback. However, the dynamic environment of their work and the well-being of children in their care make it particularly crucial that any feedback given to them is fair and constructive.
Below are practical strategies for providing constructive feedback to Educators.
Feedback is only as effective as the way it is offered. There is a good chance that your teachers already know where they need improvement. But if use disrespectful words and phrases, the feedback can be alienating and over time, provoke defensiveness and negative attitudes to feedback in general. Similarly avoid making assumptions about individuals, especially related to their families, background and personal beliefs.
Very often in an attempt to avoid unpleasantness, administrators and coaches can become vague saying “Ok”, “that will probably work” or “this has been an interesting year for you” without exactly specifying which teaching moment is being referred to or what was interesting about it. Known as social stroking, this tendency is equally harmful as arises from a conciliatory intention rather than any constructive motive to actually help the educator professionally. Over time the teacher realises that the feedback is empty and ineffective.
Instead of being vague, quote specific instances of the teacher’s actions. Clarify the behaviour or idea under consideration so that you both know you are talking about the same thing. Like, “Do I understand correctly your intention behind taking Andy to the rabbit’s pen – that it would help him calm down?” This will leave less potential for ambiguity and misunderstanding after which you can go on to state your concern, “but probably you might have checked with his family first, for potential allergies”.
Focus On The Behaviour, Not On The Person
Unhelpful feedback often attacks the core identity of a person, like “This looks lazy to me”, “There you again, being overly sensitive”. Instead bring your attention to the ideas or practices that the teacher can improve, “What can you do to decide which artwork goes on the wall and which doesn’t?” This not only helps the teacher reflect on their practices but also opens up the space for greater collaboration. They can come up with suggestions for self-improvement and also identify other areas they need to work on.
Constructive feedback is thorough and thoughtful. It does not merely notice what goals have not been realized or deadlines not met. More importantly, it offers clear, specific examples of ideas and behaviours that can be improved and practical suggestions of how to go about such betterment.
For all these reasons, you need to put in more time and thought in preparing to give constructive feedback. In the long run, though the extra effort is bound to pay off as your staff work more efficiently and with greater motivation.
When an Educator is not performing their tasks or responsibilities at best practice, these issues need to be addressed for the Educator to understand where they need to improve.
The following article is a guide for Lead Educators/Directors and those in charge of Educators within a setting, to understand underperformance, common performance issues, how to solve them and more. Managing Underperforming Educators
Conducting performance reviews is an effective way to recognise and reward individual educators' contributions within the service. The purpose of performance reviews is to assess the performance of individual educators and to improve communication between Educators and management.
Performance Reviews In Early Childhood Services
All Educators within the service should regularly be provided with feedback on their performance so improvements can be made accordingly within the team environment.