Action Steps, Choose Them Wisely

We learn best when we can focus on one thing at a time.  How do you select the right action step for teachers when giving feedback?  Consider Julie Jackson’s criteria from Leverage Leadership (Bambrick-Santoyo, 2012):

Is the action step directly connected to student learning?

Does the action step address a root cause (rather than a symptom) affecting student learning?

Is the action-step high leverage?

Let’s look at an example of this related to classroom management.  A teacher may need to increase awareness of when students are off-task and implement the least-invasive intervention necessary.  This is a high-leverage root cause that impacts student learning.  Yet, teachers struggling with this may not know how to do this.  Look at the bite-sized steps from page 73:

Deliberately scan the room for compliance:  choose three or four “hot spots” (places where students often get off task) to scan.

Circulate with purpose by moving to different locations on the perimeter of the room.

Give an instruction, narrate the positive, then redirect student who is not complying.

Redirect from least to most invasive:

Use proximity.

Use a nonverbal.

Maintain eye contact.

Say student’s name quickly.

Give a small consequence.

Each of these steps is small and direct yet may take deliberate thought, planning, practice, and continued feedback to master.

Consider having your instructional team bring samples of feedback and action steps to your next leadership team meeting.  How might you work as a team to ensure your feedback to teachers is bite-sized and actionable?

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