Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tips for Mentoring a Student Teacher - Giving Feedback

Did you like part 6 of this series about observing your student teacher?  If you missed it, you can click on the picture above to see all the posts in this series!

Today, I'm going to share some tips with you about giving feedback to your student teacher.  Last week's post and this week's are pretty similar, but I was able to find some new information for you this week.  Keep reading to see what I have to say!

When your student teacher plans lessons, you need to give feedback.  Your feedback needs to be honest and you need to clearly give your student teacher ideas on how to improve.

I use Microsoft Word and Google Docs when giving feedback to my student teacher.  She emails me her plans using Word.  I use the comment feature to give specific feedback on parts of her lessons.  Since the comment feature lets you highlight different words and sentences, she knows exactly what part of her lesson I am talking about.  She doesn't have to guess if I tell her to fix the middle of her lesson where she needed to group students.  She knows exactly what part of the lesson she needs to fix.

We just recently started using Google Docs for planning.  I can add my ideas and she can add her ideas at the same time.  No need to email multiple copies of the same lesson plan.  In addition, Google Docs has their own version of the comment feature.  This means I can still give her thoughts on specific parts of her lessons.

We've been using Google Docs as informal plans and then she uses those ideas in formal lessons.  She runs ideas by me and I give her suggestions right on her informal plans.  We've started using this at home to plan because we run out of time during the days she is in school.  We don't feel as stressed on Wednesdays and Thursdays because we know we can use Google Docs to have conversations about her plans.

It is important to give your student teacher positive feedback in addition to things he/she needs to work on.  He/she needs to know that she is doing things well and not what he/she needs to improve on.

I like to phrase some of my feedback in the form of questions.  In other words, I ask my student teacher how she could have done things differently.  This gets her thinking and reflecting instead of just listening to how I would have taught the lesson.

Verbal feedback is as important as written feedback.  Use a combination of verbal and written to make sure your student teacher is making progress.  I make sure to discuss things with her that I've written and even things that I haven't written done on her plans.

After my student teacher is finished teaching her lesson, I make sure to encourage her to provide her own feedback.  I want to know what she think went well and what she wants to work on.  Also, before lessons, I ask her if there is something specific she wants me to watch.  Does she want me to watch how she phrases her questions?  Maybe she wants me to give specific feedback on her timing.  I want to make sure she reflects on her lessons and gives herself feedback.

To go along with these blog posts, I have created a guide. This guide will be for sale in my TpT store. It is currently $5 in my store! If you purchase it now, you will be able to get all the updates for free just by downloading it again when I add tips to it. The graphic below shows you part of the printables you will get in addition to the pages of tips that are summarized here.

You might be wondering why you should purchase it since I'll be listing the tips for free here. Well, in addition to keeping all the tips together in a uniform guide, I will be creating printables that you can use with your own student teacher. You won't be able to get those here on my blog.

Remember, the price will go up in 2 weeks when I post the next tip here on my blog!

Here's a guide for you so you can see when to expect the tips.

What other tips about feedback do you have?

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