Effective feedback with Homebush West Public School video

This video was originally published 11 August 2020.

A snippet taken from an 8-part podcast series about CESE's 'What works best' research put into practice in NSW schools.

In this video, Mark Scott, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, speaks with Homebush West Public School Principal, Estelle Southall and her students about how their school embeds effective feedback in their practices. She describes how students at Homebush West seek out and value feedback and how teachers support students to work towards staged improvement.


Mark Scott:               

So, Estelle, tell us why feedback is so important at Homebush West Public School.

Estelle Southall:      

 Well, Mark, you know, the research is absolutely crystal clear, including all the meta-analysis of the research. Feedback is a powerful – has a powerful impact on student outcomes and achievements. If we’re going to be implementing practices that are effective – practices that are the most effective – then it’s really worth investing in a culture of feedback to ensure that our students can really leverage learning gains.

 

Mark Scott:               

So what’s the key to providing effective feedback? I think, you know, most organisations, most businesses would say that it’s one of the hardest things to do. How do you create a culture of effective feedback?

Estelle Southall:       

Well, you’re absolutely right. Effective feedback is really nuanced. It’s not praise, it’s not superficial, and it’s certainly not simplistic. Some keys to effective feedback include ensuring that feedback is timely, that feedback is targeted and individualised, and that it’s ongoing and frequent, specifically related to the skill or task that the learner is engaged with, and that it moves each learner forward in their current learning.

 

Mark Scott:               

I’m really interested in how you create a culture of feedback amongst a staff so that you’re confident that there are good feedback practices that are taking place in every one of your classrooms.

Estelle Southall:       

Sure. Well, I think most critically is the teachers at Homebush West work collaboratively and collectively to continually improve and understand their practice. So what’s been really critical has been classroom observations and the practice of reflecting on research and sharing strategies.

One of the things that’s really interesting about embedding a culture of feedback is, of course, that students come to seek feedback and really value it, but also they become quite adept at giving feedback. And one of the things I really value most is that our students here are quite adept at giving me and teachers feedback on the design of their learning, assessment tasks, things we could do to improve the school, and of course our leadership as well.

Mark Scott:               

So let’s talk to the students. Can any of the students there today give me an example of when you’ve received good feedback and how that feedback has helped you in your learning?

Devashri Shah:        

Hi, my name is Devashri and an experience I’ve had with feedback is fortnightly we get random English assessments where we write narratives or persuasive texts. When we finish our work, our teachers mark our rubrics and – to show us which level we’re at, and we – and show us where we need to work towards.

Chinmayee Kemisetti: 

Good morning, I’m Chinmayee and one of the experiences I had with feedback is – well, we have this program every Friday which is called Lightning Writing, which is where we have 15 to 20 minutes to write a piece of writing about a certain topic. One of the experiences I had is when I’d written my piece of writing, I took it to the teacher and she said, “You can use the bump it up or another resource like the complexity rule,” to bump up my work. 

Mark Scott:               

And did you find that that helped you?

Chinmayee Kemisetti: 

Yeah, it did.

Mark Scott:               

And how did it help you?

Chinmayee Kimesetti: 

Well, in the bump it up rule we have, like, levels. And so each time we have it, we try to tick off the level we’ve done.

Mark Scott:               

I love the idea that you seem so hungry for feedback. You want to get advice and tips on how to improve, and even if they’re small tips, it’s all about a step towards staged improvement.

I think most adults would say giving feedback is hard, receiving feedback is hard. And I think it’s just wonderful at Homebush West that you’re really developing these skills about giving feedback and receiving feedback, and it’s all about the commitment to improvement. And, you know, our researchers here say that at Homebush West you’re doing this as well as any school we can see anywhere in the state. So I want to thank you for putting feedback on the agenda of all our schools in NSW, and thanks for letting us all learn from your experiences today.

Mark Scott:               

We want to improve teaching practice, school planning and see improvement across NSW education. There’s a lot more information available for you about ‘What works best’ in the NSW Department of Education website.

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