John Dewey, who is arguably the greatest contributor to the modern education system, wrote that orderly experience leads to integration whilst disorderly experience creates a divided personality, and in extreme cases insanity.
It is rare for an educator to disagree with Dewey’s logic. Students often complain about the irrelevance of their curriculum and rarely make connections between different subject areas. Fragmentation of their experience is confusing and leads them to often conclude that knowledge learned at school is non-sensical and irrelevant to their lives.
Similarly teachers are often introduced to new theories, expectations and assessments that are disorderly and not clearly connected to their past and future experiences. Educational assessment is being introduced rapidly throughout the US with very little, if any training for teachers on observation and feedback techniques. While the goal is for educators at all levels to grow their pedagogical effectiveness the major unit of transformation – beliefs and assumptions – need skillful and careful coaching techniques in order to create a safe and trusting climate to surface them.
The term feedback can be intimidating. It implies only looking back at an event that has happened and mainly focusing on what was wrong (the problem) that needs fixing. Perhaps Winston Churchill’s solution focused saying: “We must focus more on the goal than on the problem, more on the solution than on the cause. We must move forward, not look back.” Hence many coaches now coin the phrase feed-forward as a powerful intrinsic practice of inspiration that ignites passion and forges affinity in peer led coaching.
I have designed workshops to cultivate observation and feedback (and forward) skills so that educators can forge collegial affinity as they surface their beliefs and assumptions with each other in order to become more effective educators. The skills learned are effective tools for a teacher to use in his or her classes and even in personal relationships.
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"Lawrence Carroll's workshop on personal stress management, which he conducted with my Columbia Grad School class
was a huge success."
Neal Pilson, Columbia University, Former President, CBS Sports