As educators, we see students expressing a spectrum of reactions to feedback from teachers and other school personnel. Self-satisfied smiles, frowns of disappointment, foot stomps of frustration, warm eyes of gratitude and tears of momentary defeat are a few amongst the many responses along that spectrum.
We are the consolers, the cheering crowd, the supporters, the guides, the evaluators.
We give good news and bad news. We’re happy to give the good news, we try to couch the bad news.
We made so many decisions on any given day including prioritizing the messages we give and to whom we give them.
Challenging situations: behavior, academic, social, are the priority. Communicating concerns, issues and interventions with other staff members, administrators and/or parents happens in a timely manner as per school policies.
While we know that positive feedback can be very motivating, communicating it in a timely manner does not fall into the category of “urgent and important” but rather into “important but not urgent”. We sometimes give spontaneous positive feedback to a student when we observe success or improvement in academics or in interpersonal behavior. But we don’t often communicate this information to other stakeholders in the students’ school life: parents, other teachers, administrators.
If we think it’s important to communicate good news, then why aren’t we doing it more often? Most likely it’s because in the limited time that we have to address items on that that long “to do” list, this is not at or perhaps even near the top of the list.
Here’s a short list of why we should do better at communicating positive observations:
1.Students see that their efforts are validated, reinforced and celebrated.
They grow in their understanding of the relationship between positive behavior
and success. This motivates them to continue along the path they are on.
2.Parents appreciate getting positive feedback about their children. This can help with their role in supporting their children’s education, especially if/when they also have to hear the “bad news”.
3.Other teachers can gain a broader view of the students they deal with. A challenge in one class can be isolated or pervasive. Teachers who communicate strategies and successes with each other help each other help their students.
4.Administrators can use positive feedback to better understand students’ challenges and successes and use the knowledge in situations that require intervention
All stakeholders want the same outcome: students succeeding in school.
If we all pay more attention to positive behaviors, perhaps we will have less need to pay attention to negative behaviors.
TEAM Student Tracker provides a simple and quick way to communicate good news. Whether communicated to a parent, teachers, administrators, a guidance counselor or all of these people, it takes as little time to send a “good news” notification as it does to send a message about a problem.