Community of Practice (CoP) Update: Feeding back on The Feedback

Feedback image

At the most recent CoP the group discussed making sense of feedback.

During this session it was reaffirmed that teaching and learning is about relationships and that we teach students not subjects. The three (3) key takeaways synthesised from the discussion included handling feedback – both giving and receiving; filtering out the noise, and framing, or contextualising the feedback. 

When we receive feedback, we need to filter out the noise. Part of the filtering is understanding that it can evoke an emotional response, as we reconcile what resonates and what does not. Being open to managing our emotional response is important.  Strategies to handle the emotional response include:

  • Listen
  • Consider- take time 
  • Probe 
  • Reserve judgement- assume good intent
  • Develop appropriate action – respond don’t react

How we frame the feedback is based on who has provided the feedback (peers, managers and students), as well as understanding and empathising with the recipient of the feedback.  That also goes for us, who at times are the senders.  We have to acknowledge that it can be distressing (or even traumatising) when we hear or are part of difficult feedback, even more so at this time with various change management initiatives and processes impacting us. We need to be emotionally intelligent to try not to sideline the feedback just because it is in a format or language that does not resonate. One framing strategy in managing this emotional response is to find the gems in the feedback. We should consider the best method to frame feedback received, which needs to take into account any expectations or shared assumptions, the purpose and intended outcomes from the sender. 

Similarly, when giving feedback, we need to consider what is the best structure for the recipient being mindful of our motivation (for example difficult conversations) or the most appropriate technology (for example student feedback using voice or video memos). 

Feedback and feedforward is an Iterative process, moving from filtering and framing, to crystallizing the gems. The group heard how Randy used a reflective low stakes assessment; Louise shared how she created short videos with colleagues that strengthened the link of key concepts to future practice; both Saeed and Pete spoke about coaching and mentoring as a way to deliver constructive feedback. These ‘gems’ show how we can move from receiving the feedback to action in filtering and framing the feeding forward.   

Thanks to Kylie Gumbelton and Deb Scheele for offering this summary. Please make contact with Kylie kgumbleton@csu.edu.au if you wish to learn more and discuss how to become part of the CoP and water cooler conversations (all are encouraged).