Feedback is Essential to New Teacher Growth

Ann Stark talks about what makes quality feedback that contributes to new teacher growth

A video clip where Ann Stark describes what quality feedback is and how crucial it is to drive new teachers toward that “Aha!” moment in developing their practice.


Ann Stark:

I think feedback is essential to new teacher growth. And when I say feedback, it’s not, here’s what you should do. It’s helping the teacher to figure that out for themselves by asking them guiding questions, by steering them in the direction to where they have sort of like that aha moment. One of the best compliments I got from one of my induction candidates at the end of the school year was, “When I first met you, I knew I was going to be a teacher, but now I know what kind of a teacher I’m going to be. I’ve developed my teaching style.” And for him, that was huge because it’s so overwhelming. In the beginning, they don’t even know what they don’t know. They don’t know what questions to ask. And so by having that dialogue together… And it grows and develops as your relationship grows and they gain trust that you’re a safe place, and that they can tell you about their worst day and know that there’ll be no judgment, and that you’ll guide them to finding a solution so that they can have a do-over, they get to try it again.

And so having collaborative conversations in a safe space, I think, is one of the magical things about the mentor new teacher relationship that really, really helps them find their teaching style, figure out who they are and how they’re going to impact their students. And it just creates a confidence in them that is motivating and drives them to continue pushing themselves and looking at the data, and really trying to differentiate their instruction to reach that one kid. And instead of teaching to the class, they’re teaching to every individual student because they’ve learned all their needs, and they’ve really spent time talking about each kid with their mentor. And it all becomes so very personal to them.