Be A Master at Feedback

I’ve been going to the YMCA to watch some really cute kids learn how to play basketball!  Of course, basketball is huge in Kansas (James Naismith, the inventor of basketball was a teacher at the University of Kansas!) and there are lots of kids playing basketball this time of year.  I’ve noticed several things that they do with 5 year olds that I think are really good teaching practices.  I’ve been very impressed with the feedback they are giving the kids. 

Good teachers are masters at giving feedback to their students.  The feedback they give is very specific.  When we say “you did a great job today” the students feel good but they really don’t know what they did that was good!  However, when we give specific feedback, students learn from those comments.  “You are doing a really nice job of keeping the ball waist high.”  “Your class did a great job today of stopping quickly when the music stopped and listening to my directions.”  That type of feedback helps students improve their skills and also helps them know what behavior is appropriate.  

Good teachers are also great at making sure they are looking for opportunities to provide feedback throughout the lesson.  The “real teaching” takes place after students start the activity!  I encourage you to think about when you are giving feedback to your students and consider whether it is general or specific.  Skillastics is the perfect example of allowing an instructor the freedom to give feedback while all the children are engaged in the activity.

More next month on Kansas basketball and what I’ve learned from watching kids play the game!

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