Higher Education

Using Feedback to Enhance Student-Teacher Reflection & Engagement

A webinar featuring Dr. Debra Lively from Saginaw Valley State University

Dr. Debra Lively shares techniques on using feedback to enhance engagement and deepen learning among teacher candidates.


Karenna Glover:

Hi, everyone and welcome to today’s presentation. We are so glad you’ve been able to join us today and we look forward to sharing a lot of great tips in today’s presentation. My name is Karenna Glover and I’m with the GoReact team. We are the host of today’s webinar and for those of you who don’t know anything about GoReact, we are one of the leading video assessment and feedback solutions used primarily across higher Ed institutions and in K-12 schools in the US and in the UK. So we are glad to have our presenters here today, Dr. Debra Lively. She is with Saginaw State University in Michigan, Go Blue. And I know you all are very excited to hear from Debbie. So before I turn it over to her, just a couple points of reminders to our attendees. As you probably noticed, you all are on mute.

However, we really encourage you to participate in today’s event. So you’ll see on the panel on your screen an option to chat and an option for Q&A. We encourage you to use the chat to introduce yourselves, tell us where you’re from, what school you’re with, and also chat with other attendees, share any resources you might have, any websites that you like relevant to today’s topic. And then the Q&A is for you to ask questions to Debbie. We’ve carved out some time at the end of today’s presentation to answer your questions live, so please fill up that Q&A, so we can get to your questions at the end. And finally, we are recording today’s full presentation. So if you need to hop off early or you want to share it with a colleague, we will be sending out the full recording by email. So be on the lookout for that. And with that I will hand it over to you Debbie and thank you so much for presenting with us today.

Debbie Lively:

Well, hello everybody. I just have to clarify one thing. I’m not Go Blue. Saginaw Valley State University. Our colors are, well, they’re red and blue, but I am a Spartan and I saw someone was from Michigan State in the chat. And so Go Green. Yes, Go White. They did well last night in the basketball game, right? So anyway, I’m excited to be here. I consider myself really a practitioner. I spent almost 30 years in Saginaw public schools, which is a very urban area. And then I have been, this is my 22nd year here at Saginaw Valley. I went to Michigan State and got my doctorate from state and then came to Saginaw Valley and have been teaching here for 22 years. So I’m been in the business for a long time and I particularly love practice. And so I’m excited that I have had opportunities to work with student teachers or teacher candidates in our CAPE Reports we call them.

So anyway, I’m here to talk about feedback to enhance reflection. And so I hope that you go away with some new ideas or reaffirm some of the old ideas that you have. So let me hear, go to the next slide. Okay, so this is a question we’d like to ask. It’s going to be a poll question, I think. Are you happy with the feedback you’ve provided for teacher candidates? Yes, no, maybe we are you thinking if you could just answer that and then we’ll kind of get some feedback.

Okay. And as you’re answering that question, let’s see here, I’m going to, we’ll see what results we get, but we’re going to move on. And so then hopefully I’m thinking that the results will be shared with us. So there we go. Maybe, okay, so we’ve got a lot of maybes, we’ve got a few noes, so we’re doing pretty good as far as what we think our feedback is like, so that’s a good thing. So thank you for responding. So I’m going to just talk about four ways that I think that I have worked with students for a long time to help them reflect on their teaching and reflect more deeply. Because students typically will answer things were like, “Oh yeah, that was a really good lesson. Oh yeah, I liked what I did, blah, blah, blah.” But it is, it’s just kind of a surface level kind of reflection.

And so I’d like them to think more deeply about it. And it’s taken me a lot of years to get to the point where I use some of these strategies more consistently. I mean, I do sometimes fall back and do some of the things that I probably should do, but these are the things that I would like to share with you that I have found very helpful for me. And one is using thinking routines. And I don’t know how many of you are familiar with thinking routines, but they support deeper reflection, thinking routines, really enhance that culture of thinking. Project Zero from Harvard. I do have a website and I also think it will be put in the chat a link to the site that you can go to. I really would encourage you to look at the different thinking routines that are suggested and look at some of they have video, and you can see it in action and so I’d like you to look at that.

But anyway, thinking routines do support deeper reflection. And I use them all the time in my courses and when I’m commenting on video in GoReact. The other thing is questioning is key gathering information. And I have really worked hard on the way that I question students and it has made a significant difference. I think the other thing, paraphrasing that helps them really feel that we’re understanding we’re listening, we’re using that active listening, but paraphrasing enhances that understanding instead of just saying, “Oh yeah, I agree.” Extend their thinking and then probing invites and promotes that deeper reflection. So these are the four things we’re going to briefly discuss because I only have so many minutes, so I’m going to try to whip through this as fast as I can. So let’s see. So these are the core thinking routines that I use when with student teachers. Now, there are other thinking routines, but I’ve just selected these few core ones that I could start using more consistently.

And the See, Think, Wonder. The I used to think, and now I think. I love connect extended challenge. This one describes what made you think that or what made you say that one I use so much. And then Think, Puzzle, Explore. And then there is the website below there, but it will be put in the chat too. So the See, Think, Wonder, and I tried to put this in the framework of if you were observing with a student their video, and you can do that and GoReact, you can do that really in real time. So I might if using a See, Think, Wonder and my students know these routines so their brain gets ready, remember what the brain thinks. And if you use routines, it helps them think deeper. We use See, Think, Wonder, describes some of the strategies you see in your teaching.

Share what you think about the strategies you used, identify what you wonder about those strategies in your teaching. I take the WH. I don’t say, what do you think about the strategies you use? I say share. I also from training and cognitive coaching, there’s been a lot of research done on when you ask a WH question, sometimes the brain will stop thinking because there’s a right or wrong answer. The way you frame your question really allows that brain an opportunity to think more openly without feeling like, “Oh, I’m going to be wrong.” It really encourages when you ask questions like this or you use these thinking routines, it really just encourages risk taking, which is what we want student teachers to do. Take a risk and share what they’re really thinking. I used to think this is one of my favorite. And now, I think. Share what you used to think about how you should teach reading what you learned in your methods courses and explain what you think after you’ve been teaching for eight weeks now.

So I used to think and now I think and then extend connected challenge describe what connects with what you already know or what you saw in your small group lesson or on the video. How might you extend your learning from what you saw and any challenges that you noticed? And so if using these thinking routines when we’re reviewing video has really helped for more critical thinking and not just that surface thinking that they do often do. So these are the other two. Think, Puzzle, Explore. Explain what you think you might know about teaching young children math. Share with me some of the concepts that you think these children need to learn as far as math. And then after you teach your math lesson, I’m wondering what puzzles or questions you might have about the topic and how might you explore your questions or your puzzles about this topic and then practice them with their students.

So it’s the idea of the beginning, middle, and end. And then the describe what made you think that. When a student provides a comment in GoReact, they provide their comment, then I will type in a reply and say they might push diversity, they might push that marker or they might push, might record the marker of feedback. Now, I don’t know if they think it’s positive or negative feedback if they don’t give a comment. And I will tell you these students, I love the markers, but students will just push markers and not identify markers and not really write any kind of rationale. But I want to know why they thought that. So when a student provides a comment, I might go in there and make a reply and say, “I’m wondering what made you think this was positive feedback or negative feedback.” And then they have to go back in and respond.

I have the students respond on their videos, I go in and respond and then I give them the heads up. They have to go back and read any of the comment because I ask lots and lots of questions. And I try to use these thinking core thinking routines. So for more information you can go to Project Zero and thinking routines. And like I said on their website, they have videos. You can see some of these. I use this in my courses that I teach all the time when we’re doing asynchronous virtual things I might throw in and one of the questions use a thinking routine.

So anyway, I don’t see any questions about that. So we’re going to move on the other part, I said thinking routines and then questions. And I’m going to let you take a minute to read this. I hope you all can see it, but we’ll just take like a minute.

Okay, thank you. I’m glad you could see it. Okay, so questions have a lot of depth to them and how we ask them is so critical. I think the one that’s the most important to me is the non-judgmental. Because if we are judgmental, that discourages that conversation. And I just wanted to give an example of that. Now, this doesn’t sound like a bad question if you say why did you do it that way? Or I wonder why you did it that way or why, but if we want to be truly non-judgmental, it might be better to frame it. And a question doesn’t always have to be a question, but this one is here. But if you are able to redo your lesson, I wonder… And I wonder all the time what you might in the word might do differently next time. Those are keywords, wonder and might in questioning and instead of using would or could I always change and reframe and use the word might because might again allows that brain to take more risks.

So if you were able to redo your lesson, I wonder what you might do differently next time. All right, so questions there are thought provoking. They should generate energy like, “Oh I want to participate.” They should really focus on that inquiry and reflection, and they should really allow for risk taking. Those questions really are powerful, and I’ve learned a lot working with families. I’ve spent 27 years working directly as a home interventionist with families. And how you engage with another person and ask questions in probe is so important to finding out information and that reflection. So instead of what did you see in the video? Because I mean you might say that what did you see in the video? Or hey, did you check for the children’s understanding?

What are the goals for the lesson? All these are questions that I have used in the past, but I have changed the way that I frame the questions to now, so I haven’t fallen apart yet. So these I would change those questions to be like this. Tell me the kinds. And I highlighted kinds because using a plural makes a big difference because if I said, tell me the kind of things you saw, if I said kind, well I wouldn’t say it that way, but if I only asked for what they saw in the teaching, it implies one thing is one right answer. So using plurals applies multiple answers. I wonder how you check to make sure the children were understanding the content instead of the other question using describe using words that aren’t like that WH.

Describe your transition strategies when moving the children from reading to gym. When viewing your video, share your thoughts about what went well and any challenges. Again, not a specific question. And then how might you keep the children engaged instead of how or how could you keep the children engaged? How might is softer allows that brain more freedom and flexibility. And then I wondered, again, I use that a lot. I wondered what you saw in your video that made you select the behavior marker. So questioning is key, but questions.

Yes, the students do provide questions for each other. And because I use this so much in class and I talk about why I’m using it. I see students using this type of questioning with other students. So I see the benefit. And the biggest benefit I hope, is that they will carry this over and try to create that culture of thinking with their students when they’re out there and they actually have a classroom. Because I tell them children don’t want to answer if they think there’s a right or wrong answer. And the same for them. And so hopefully these strategies and by identifying them and talking about them, hopefully they use them with their children in their classrooms. And I do teach this as part of our program and how do you work with children.

But again, questions don’t have to be questions. They can be comments. And this is a really hard thing that student’s kind of don’t understand. That takes them a while to get it. So instead of what ways are these two lessons similar? I just making a comment. Let’s think of ways these two lessons are similar. Using a comment instead of a direct question. Tell me what made you think that strategy engaged the students? It’s a statement and it’s not a typical question. And so I always say to them, you can use comments to gather in probe and get information. Oops, let’s go back. So again, we want to make sure that their open-ended that we are really providing thought to stimulate conversation. We want conversation. It’s so hard when you have a teacher candidate, and they just sort of stop the conversation. And I spend a lot of wait time when I say something like, “Tell me what you see in the video that makes you feel you accomplished your lesson.”

I have sat a long time without with silence, but I will not interrupt their thinking and I wait. Sometimes it’s a bit uncomfortable, but I would have to say 99% of the time it’s amazing what the students will then say given that opportunity. Because we’re always in a rush and sometimes we want to answer for them. And I have lots of time with video when I have done things where one time, I had a student that she had done just a terrible read aloud and this was a really good student. I mean she like a student that every teacher wants, every faculty member would like to work with this type of student. I mean assignments were so thoughtful, reflective uses citations appropriately. I mean everything on time just great. But her read aloud was terrible. She did not use any expression in her voice.

And I really got close to this student. She had gone on a study abroad with me. And so as I’m sitting there observing her and recording her. I’m thinking, “Oh my goodness, how am I going to tell her about how awful her read aloud was?” Because I didn’t want her to do poorly. I wanted her to do well. So anyway, when we watched the video, the video really made it wonderful for me because I said, “Okay, let’s think about the things that are needed to make a read aloud really effective. I’m wondering in your video the things that you see that you feel make that read aloud effective.” It wasn’t even like five seconds, she was looking at that and she said, oh my goodness, is that me? I said, “Well, tell me more when you say is that me? Tell me what you’re thinking.”

And she said, well, it is like boring. Look at the kids aren’t paying attention.” She said, “I’m just rushing, I’m not even using any expression.” And she said, it’s terrible. And I said, “Okay. So then we talked about the challenges and what kinds of things she could do to enhance it.” And she really took this effort on her own, did a lot more video recording and really did improve. Did she go from zero to a 100? No, but she went to about 80, which was a whole lot better than what we were at zero. But what took a lot of probing and a lot of allowing her to take those risks. So if you were going to take one of these questions, and change it up and put it in the chat. Everybody take a one question, put it in the chat. How might you change these questions to be more? Just take a minute. Pick a question, change it up, put it in the chat.

Okay, I see lots of good questions coming through. Just want to make a couple comments. Try to stay away from can or did because that’s a yes or no answer. So it doesn’t necessarily promote that deeper thinking. And if you asked a WH instead, for example, what did you notice about the students during the lesson? Describe what you noticed a different word than WH because remember those WH could stop that brain from thinking. I mean physiologically, there is some information about this, but great questions. Thank you so much for providing these specific questions to enhance the reflective practices of the students that you’re teaching. How might you keep the children engaged? Open-ended allows for multiple answers. The more answers that the students can provide, the better the opportunity.

So these are some major just comments. Think about, I wonder commenting. Tell me, using thinking routines, staying away from WH questions, and using plurals as a way when you’re asking questions. These are little simple little techniques that take practice. So we want to avoid this kind of feedback. Good job. Well done. You’re an excellent teacher. You can see why we don’t want to use those. Good job or well done is just general, you’re an excellent teacher that’s so evaluative and you evaluate by using rubrics.

Why would you consider them an excellent teacher? Your classroom management is amazing compared to other student teachers. Not good to make a comparison. It’s better to make a comparison with their own work and that I love this one. Keep up the good work and you’ll get a good job. Well, we don’t want to do, I mean that’s true, but we don’t want to link actions to rewards. But so effective feedback, really these are the major things that you think about. They acknowledge they’re specific. You compare one’s performance with their own performance, like what they did earlier and how they’ve come to be where they are now. And you want to link actions to enjoyment and satisfaction. It’s obvious by how you present with such enthusiasm, your enjoyment and satisfaction for teaching and then attribute success to effort. That’s probably the number one thing. If we attribute success to effort, they say from motivation to motivate students, that’s one of the best things that you can do.

So this is how you might use or might think about this. You use several open-ended questions during large group time to support the children’s thinking. Your teaching demonstrates much effort in hard work. Your teaching has shown such growth from the first week you taught to now. And it’s obvious you spend a lot of time preparing for your lesson with the in-depth details you provided in that lesson plan. The song you used was an excellent strategy to bring the children’s attention back to the group. Sorry, these are focused on early childhood because that’s where I go out and observe student teachers, so I think of those more specifically. So using the students use the IC, I think I wonder routine to promote critical thinking that children seem to be very engaged and eager to contribute their ideas. That’s effective. Or it’s obvious that you are aware of the importance of redirecting.

That’s rephrasing and consistency to help the children that is that effective. It’s specific. It’s not just good job or well done. The other thing is paraphrasing, and you all know about paraphrasing that one of the things there are different levels. One would be acknowledging and clarifying. You seem frustrated because you were wondering about, it seems like you are concerned. That would be acknowledging and then summarizing. So it sounds like you have two concerns. On one hand you believe blah blah blah blah blah. And yet on the other hand, this is what happened in your classroom. And then moving students to another level is like so a belief you hold might be that a developmentally appropriate practice that children need recess, and that recess should not be used as a punishment when children misbehave.

That might be something that you want to talk about. So we’re not going to really do this, but this would be, if I were having you in pairs, if I were in a face-to-face meeting with you, I would have you take opportunities to actually paraphrase for each other, which is what I do with my students. Okay, a concern that you had about coming to class was share that with your partner. And then the partner has to paraphrase back, because I teach a whole lesson on paraphrasing with student teachers. I always have planning conferences before I observe students. I want them to describe their goals. How do they know if they’ll be successful? I’m wondering what kinds of strategies are they’re going to be using. And then when they record their lesson, what might they want to see or hear when they’re observing their lesson?

And then as they reflect on the conversation that we just had, how did that support their learning? So I always do a planning conference before actually when I go and observe, we do five observations. We do two face-to-face and three video. But even the face-to-face, we also capture video and I upload the video. We also use the markers, but again, markers don’t necessarily cause deep reflections. So you have to go in occasionally when they do a marker and ask them, tell me what made you say that or made you think that. So reflecting, as you watch your video, tell me what you see that connects with what you have learned. That’s that connect, extend challenge. As you analyze your teaching, how might it relate to what you planned and then moving forward, describe any ideas you may want to use in future lessons.

So that’s it, so the idea that these are the things that I would really use to enhance that reflection by the feedback that I provide. I would want to use thinking routines. I’m really careful with my questions. I’m always try to paraphrase what student teachers talk about as they view their video. And even when they write and we’ve been experimenting with a video, doing a little bit more of video back to me and audio, they’ve been try experimenting more because I say, “Oh, try something more than just writing your comments in there.” I said, “Let’s play with GoReact a little bit.” And because some students are more articulate in an auditory verbal way than they are in a written language way. So it does provides for students to have more opportunity. And I really do encourage multiple ways and I’ve tried to be more respectful of that and do more multiple.

Because sometimes it’s easier for me just to type comments. But I’ve tried to do more with the video and the audio. We also want to probe and it’s again, comments can be questions. They don’t have to be specifically questions like we have. But anyway, so that’s basically what I would do to encourage that more critical thinking and to really provide effective feedback. One of the things that I would like for you to think is how will you encourage deeper reflection based on some of the things that I talked about? Has anything, I’m wondering if anything has been highlighted for you that makes you think, “Oh, I might try that or I’m going to think about that more.” I’d like you to write anything that you might, you’ve taken from this exchange today that would encourage you to do deeper reflection.

Okay. Let’s just write it in the chat, if you can think of anything that I shared today that might be helpful. One of the things that I just also want to say is that it takes time. Yes. And using the thinking routines or it really, it’s harder when you’re trying to probe or get the students to think deeper. It’s hard sometimes and GoReact because it is more time intensive. I had 24 student teachers in early childhood this fall and had to… This was separate from being university supervisor and observing them. I have them for a capstone class. So I had them upload an introduction. I always do an introduction video and then always everybody responds on that and then they have to upload a small group and a large group video. So I had almost a hundred videos that I had to watch. That’s a lot of videos.

And they take time and to push the reflective piece so that they think deeper. I start it right when the introduction because I want them to be thinking like this for when they actually get into their classroom. And then I work with university supervisors because we have a cadre of people that supervise the early childhood. I supervise early childhood special education because I’m certified and we have a harder time getting people certified in that particular area. But I work with them too. How can you get that deeper reflection with student teachers? It is a lot of professional development. But if you can get everybody on the same page, then like I said, the students, they start asking those kinds of questions too. They start paraphrasing better. They love the thinking routines. It puts them right in that mindset. So anywhere. Yes, I can share my PowerPoint with us. I will do that.

No, I don’t want you to have to write crazy. We can share what we have and hopefully… And anybody could email me. Maybe we could have someone put it in the chat dlively@svsu.edu. Anyway, and you know what? I don’t mind share whatever you want to share because my idea is that we’re all in this together and what I have shared out with what anybody that you would like, if you work with student teachers, share it with them. I mean, it’s important for them to understand these concepts when they’re working with children and families. So anyway, any more questions?

Karenna Glover:

So Debbie, I’ll jump on.

Debbie Lively:


Karenna Glover:

Thank you for this presentation. It’s obvious been well received by the comments in the chat and we are so glad to see so much interaction and contributions from the audience. So thanks for sparking that and asking them to engage with you. It looks like we do have at least one question. I don’t know if you’re able to see it, but it is, how do you manage or handle grading time when you’re watching so many videos?

Debbie Lively:

Oh yeah, that’s true. You don’t want to be around me when I have to watch all these videos because I’m like, “Ugh, how many more do I have? I keep counting. I’m tear, I’m a little bit compulsive.” What I tell myself I do like five a day because if I wait, I’m terrible at procrastination. And sometimes if I wait and I do them all, it’s just too much. And then I’m not thoughtful. I mean, I’m going to be honest with you, it’s hard to be as thoughtful in pushing that reflection and being effective using effective feedback. So I’ve set told myself I’m going to do five a day and that’s how I do it. So I could do five a day, then in five days I finish 25. And so that’s one of the… When I have so many students. Now, I don’t always have that many students, but that I had a big number this past fall.

And then as well as I’m working with a consortium for deaf education, and I have five students in there and I am their supervisor to watch their teaching. And so I have more videos there. We use the video for a lot of things. I use it in a language class where they put a transcript up there, then they use the markers to identify the holidays pragmatic functions of language. And so then they code, they learn about coding. And so you can use GoReact for a lot of ways, but it is hard to manage that grading. Video does take a long time, but I’ll tell you what the students say so much of what I would want to say that it’s kind of a relief for me. And I mostly go in and comment if they’ve missed something or I reply to what they’re doing to kind of push their thinking. But yeah, I love GoReact. I’ve been using it a long time, but it is time consuming. But it’s the best because then you don’t have to identify the problems or the successes because the students will. And so anyway, so…

Karenna Glover:

Awesome. Very well put. All right. Well, it looks like that was our only question that was submitted.

Debbie Lively:


Karenna Glover:

So any closing thoughts from you Debbie?

Debbie Lively:

No, I know it’s hard and I know it’s tough and especially when you work with student teachers, it’s at the end. And I know the pandemic. Actually, GoReact saved us in the pandemic because that was really tough. And I observed so many students that did virtual type stuff and that was interesting. But I always having that connection with your students in a face-to-face or in a virtual, but when it’s just you and them in a synchronous, I’m not really big on that asynchronous. I like more synchronous involvement because I really like face-to-face. But I think GoReact providing, pushing their students thinking and teaching them, thinking routines and telling, working with them on how to ask questions. It just makes them more responsible to their colleagues, to the other students that are in their cohorts. So I just would encourage you to think about using thinking routines.

I would encourage you to think about your questions. And every time when you say a WH question, you’re going to go, “Oh, how else can I say that?” And then I would encourage you to think about paraphrasing and practicing these things with your students. I mean, it’s practice that makes you better. I still make a lot of mistakes, but I’m at least more at a level where I know that how I could maybe have pushed the thinking. The grading is difficult, but if you just set a small, you can do it. Yeah. So anyway, so I hope you try I and think about these things and enjoy your student teachers and… Yeah, they’re such a shortage. It’s hard to keep them, they’ve got jobs before they even graduate, so…

Karenna Glover:

That’s right. Well, these tips were super helpful. Appreciate you sharing so many resources, the thinking routines, and all the stories and examples that you share. Debbie, we just really appreciate you delivering such great content for the audience. And I also just want to thank everybody who carved out some time with us today and was able to join us and participate in the chat. We really appreciate all your feedback and your attention and hope you gained some good tips today and we hope to see you on a future webinar with GoReact.

Debbie Lively:


Karenna Glover:

So thank you all. Have a great holiday next week and a good rest of your semester. We appreciate you.

Debbie Lively:

Yes. Thank you, everybody for-

Karenna Glover:

Thank you.