The In-service Feedback Session To Actively Promote Teacher
In-service Feedback On Observed Classes In A Language Academy
teachers at the British Language Centre, Madrid, where I work,
receive six observations throughout the academic year as part
of an in-service development programme. As all the teachers
hold the RSA/UCLES CTEFLA (now named CELTA), there is a tendency
for these observations to resemble an official Teacher Training
course. The teachers put into practice techniques they were
exposed to on their CTEFLA courses and feedback sessions are
spent discussing these techniques. Teachers find observation
by a supervisor stressful and feel safer sticking to tried
and tested ground. However, in this article I intend to show
how supervisors can use in-service feedback sessions to move
beyond discussion of techniques and towards the active promotion
of teacher self-development.
to Freeman, development encompasses, "aspects of a teacher's
teaching that stem from attitude toward, and awareness of,
self in the classroom." (Freeman 1989:40) In order to help
the teacher to develop I believe the supervisor needs to allow
the teacher to speak in the feedback session.
learn by speaking: by trying to put our thoughts together
so that someone else can understand them." (Edge 1992: 6)
feedback session is the ideal place for a teacher to express
him/herself about teaching and to put his/her thoughts together.
However, due to the power differential that exists between
supervisor and teacher, it is normally the supervisor who
does most of the talking in a feedback session. Therefore,
it is necessary for the supervisor to use a structured feedback
framework and adopt strategies that will allow the teacher
to express him/herself.
Three Phase Framework For Feedback
propose the following three phase framework:
1) Post Lesson Task
One - Post Lesson Task
first phase consists of the teacher talking through a Post
Lesson Task. This task is given to the teacher before the
actual observation and the teacher is asked to complete *now
named CELTA it after the lesson and bring it along to the
feedback session. It consists of six questions and is designed
to encourage the teacher to reflect on the lesson.
1.How do you feel about the lesson you taught?
2.Did anything(s)happen that you had not planned for or anticipated?
3.How do you think your students felt about the lesson? 4.How
did this observed lesson compare with one of your unobserved
lessons with this group?
5.Could the observer have done anything to help make you feel
more comfortable? Did the observer do anything which made
you feel uncomfortable?
6.Any other reflections?
six questions are constructed so as to restore some power
to the observed teacher. Question 4 gives the teacher the
chance to discuss how the class is normally, when there is
no change in the dynamic caused by the presence of an observer.
Question 5 is also designed to restore more control to the
mentioned above, the feedback session begins by the teacher
talking through the Post Lesson Task. It is important that
the supervisor does not just take it and read it as the aim
of this part of the feedback session is that the teacher expresses
his/her views orally. Having written something down earlier,
there is less possibility of the teacher "drying up" or feeling
stuck for words. While the teacher talks through the lesson
the supervisor should adopt the role of understander and "actively
listen" to the teacher.
a normal conversation or discussion the speakers listen to
each other mutually, but they have a tendency to concentrate
on what they themselves are going to say and how this will
fit into the interaction. In active listening the interaction
pattern is distorted as only one participant acts as speaker
and the other participant acts as understander and concentrates
on helping the speaker to clarify his/her ideas.
a supervisor acts as understander in a feedback session (i.e.actively
listens) the teacher is encouraged not only to speak, but
also to hear him/herself. I find it useful to use the interactive
skills of attending, reflecting, focussing, thematising, challenging
and disclosing as outlined in Julian Edge's Cooperative Development
(Edge 1992: 21 -64).
these interactive moves are partly derived from Egan(1 986)
the idea of using them in teacher development is very much
Edge's own interpretation (Edge 1992: 92-93))
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