Delivering Instructional Feedback in Physical Education Settings

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  • 0:04 Instructional Feedback
  • 1:12 Structuring Effective Feedback
  • 5:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brittany Cross

Brittany teaches middle school Language Arts and has a master's degree for designing secondary reading curriculum.

The ability to give effective feedback to teachers is a powerful tool in helping them grow in their instructional practices. In this lesson, we'll examine the components that make instructional feedback valuable to teachers in physical education settings.

Instructional Feedback

One question many school leaders may find difficult to answer is: What makes instructional feedback valuable and useful? Is it pages of notes shared with a teacher on what is observed in a single lesson? Is it a state-mandated teacher evaluation rubric that is shared multiple times throughout the year?

In many school settings the idea of instructional feedback is linked with classroom observations, which, depending on your school, may only happen two to three times per year. When we examine how to give instructional feedback that is significant for our instructors, we want to think about how we give feedback to any learner in general. Teachers, like students, rely on frequent, action-oriented feedback that can easily be practiced and applied.

How, then, do you apply the idea of feedback to physical education (PE) classes? Simple: just as you would in any other context. PE teachers deal with the same instructional issues as do other instructors, ranging from engagement and management to the rigor of teaching to the expected standards. The key is knowing the structure that makes your feedback worth its weight in gold.

Structuring Effective Feedback

We must first understand the goal of feedback: to help teachers grow in areas that make them effective at increasing student learning. With this in mind, let's look at a model for how to make this happen. For any teacher, feedback should be focused, action-oriented, and frequent.

A long page of comments or a massive rubric arriving in their inbox may be overwhelming to an instructor. Given a teacher's many responsibilities, we want to make feedback as practical and focused as possible. Therefore, make it 'bite-sized.' It should be one action step that they can immediately apply to their teaching practices. Some examples might include maintaining close proximity to students around the gym to help keep them on task or developing a routine for entering class so students can set the mood for learning.

Looking at how teachers can directly apply these pieces of feedback, it seems more focused and realistic than handing over a massive teacher evaluation rubric and having them try to make sense of every area marked for improvement. Imagine being a basketball player and sitting for half an hour after every game to hear a list of what you did wrong or right. This amount of information may be overwhelming and ineffective. If, instead, your coach offers quick tips in the moment during games and practices, you may be more willing to try the tip and have it stick.

In the previous examples, we can see how they direct a teacher towards action and provide a clear task. Action-oriented comments are far more effective than simply finding ways to make sure groups of students aren't off task or trying to keep students calmer and more behaved when they come into the gym. Providing a teacher with a helpful action step, versus a vague recommendation that they need to research and implement on their own, can make it far easier for them to carry out the feedback.

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