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Using Low Inference Feedback and Conferencing: A School Leaders Guide for Improvement 1 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Low Inference Feedback and Conferencing: A School Leaders Guide for Improvement 1 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Low Inference Feedback and Conferencing: A School Leaders Guide for Improvement 1 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

2 The Purpose of this Module is to… provide school leaders an opportunity to strengthen their understanding of low inference feedback. identify key factors of low inference feedback. learn strategies to assist you in using low inference feedback to enhance teaching and learning in your building. 2 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

3 Essential Questions: Why is utilizing low inference feedback and conferencing important for school improvement? How can effective feedback help ensure a positive outcome from conferences and lead to increased classroom effectiveness? 3 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

4 Reflection Questions: Think about your current practices of conducting observations and providing teachers with feedback. What is your approach to completing a classroom observation? What kind of notes do you make when visiting a classroom? How do you provide teachers with feedback? How does your feedback impact classroom instruction? Record your responses to the questions above on the participants guide. 4 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

5 What is Low Inference Feedback? Low inference feedback is a product of a low inference observation. Using a description of observable facts or events, without interpretation. Uses a low degree of subjectivity. Just the facts, not your opinion. A factual observation, not a judgment. Low inference feedback, either written or verbal, addresses very specific behaviors and observations. All subjectivity and value judgments are removed. 5 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

6 What is Low Inference Feedback? Low Inference Feedback IS: providing a detailed record of what took place, using a transcript of events versus an opinion of what was observed. used to deepen practitioners ability to observe and reflect on their practice. more focused on student interactions and learning. about stimulating collegial discourse on narrowing the gap between teaching and learning. for the purpose of professional learning and growth. 6 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

7 What is Low Inference Feedback? Low Inference Feedback is NOT: providing expert advice. a rating or ranking. discussing teaching practices alone. subjective. providing praise and/or reprimands. 7 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

8 I used to concentrate on how a teacher delivers a lesson more than how the students receive the lesson. Now I notice things that I had never seen before, like the students behavior, seating, or lack of response in class. – Teacher Leader, 2005 Using the participant guide, reflect on the above quote. Where do your observation practices fall on this continuum of teaching and learning? 8 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

9 Why Use Low Inference Feedback… Synthesizing more than 900 educational meta- analyses, researcher John Hattie has found that effective feedback is among the most powerful influences on how people learn. (John Hattie, Know Thy Impact, Educational Leadership Feedback for Learning September 2012, Vol. 70, No. 1) Dont we want both our teachers and students to receive effective feedback in order to maximize learning? 9 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

10 Using Low Inference Feedback… The term feedback is often used to describe all kinds of comments made after the fact, including advice, praise, and evaluation. But strictly speaking, none of these are feedback. Basically, feedback is information about how we are doing in our efforts to reach a goal. Even further, helpful feedback is goal-referenced; tangible and transparent; actionable; user-friendly (specific and personalized); timely; ongoing; and consistent. - Grant Wiggins, Feedback for Learning: September, 2012; Vol. 70, No.1 10 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

11 In order to become efficient and effective at providing low inference feedback both during conferencing and in written commentary, a leader must first become proficient at completing and recording low inference notes during the observation period. Lets begin by looking at observational skills… 11 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

12 As with any new practice, there are challenges: Providing low inference feedback will require practitioners to acquire a new skill. As with any skill it gets easier with practice. Typically novice transcribers struggle with: speed, accuracy and stamina. The following suggestions may be helpful in addressing these issues: Begin by recording what you hear then move to what you see. Build speed and accuracy by practicing often. Build stamina by practicing for longer and longer periods of time. When observing group work focus on one group. Develop your own short hand. How can Low Inference Observational skills be learned? 12 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

13 How can Low Inference Observations contribute to improving student achievement outcomes? Low Inference Observations and Feedback can allow us to: dramatically increase practitioners capacity to accurately observe practice. engage in collegial conversations about a classroom event without debating the facts. illuminate small changes in practice across classrooms that make a big difference in learning. identify patterns within and across classrooms to inform more targeted professional learning. 13 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

14 How are Low Inference Observations Different? Classroom observation write-ups typically summarize what the observer has seen and/or heard. Even when they include quotes, the quotes are in support of an interpretation. Low inference transcripts just provide the facts without judgment or interpretation. Compare this excerpt from a supervisory classroom observation review with the low inference transcript that follows: - Children First Intensive Low Inference Transcripts 14 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

15 Lets Compare… Classroom Observation example: The teacher makes use of a cartoon to reach and engage visual learners, the teacher has students define the concept of mimic in their own words and engage in collectively creating a definition. 15 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

16 Lets Compare… Low Inference Transcript: Living Environment Class 15 students present. They are arranged in clustered desks. There are 3 groups of 3 and 3 groups of 2. As additional students come in they are assigned to the groups of 2. Projected onto a screen against the back wall is a Kliban cartoon. There is a drawing of a rhinoceros thinly disguised as a rhinoceros. The caption to the cartoon reads: Dont worry, according to the guide book were dealing with a rhino mimic. Activator written on the board: Look at the cartoon and write down what you think a mimic is? Continued on next slide… 16 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

17 Lets Compare… Teacher:What is a mimic? In your own words Student #1:A mimic tries to scare other animals off Teacher:How does it scare? Student #1:It looks scary Teacher:It makes itself look like something its not. How? Student #1:Makes itself look big Teacher:Student #2, can you read what you wrote? Student #2:It tries to copy another animal to scare something 17 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

18 Continued… Teacher:In this cartoon, what is it trying to copy? Several Students:A rhinoceros Teacher:So who can come up with a definition of a mimic? Student #3? Student #3:An animal that tries to copy…I dont know Teacher:Good, we have the copy part. Writes on board Mimic: An animal that copies another animal to Teacher:Why? Does anyone have anything to add? Student #1:To protect itself Teacher:Writes on board a continuation of the definition increase its chance of survival 18 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

19 Low inference Classroom Transcripts are designed, as much as possible, to filter out the inferences and assumptions we typically make about why something occurred. In so doing, they allow us to look more deeply at and influence what occurred. The Classroom Observation review attributes motivation for having students describe the cartoon and define mimic in their own words to engage students in collectively creating a definition. The Low Inference transcript indicates that it is the teacher, not the students, who actually constructs the definition. 19 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

20 Lets Practice… Here are some statements made after observing a classroom. Use your participant guide to answer the following: Which are written in low inference and which are written in high inference? How can you tell? How can we change the high inference statement into low- inference statements? 1.The teacher asked 3 clarifying questions to the pair of students. 2.One child did not understand the assignment. 3.There are five students who had their heads down. 4.This student is an English Language Learner. 5.Two causes for the American Revolution were listed and discussed. 20 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

21 1.The teacher asked 3 clarifying questions to the pair of students. – This could be considered a low inference statement because it is a factual observation. However, one could record information about how the students answered the questions…this will help understand the learning that is going on in the classroom. 2.One child did not understand the assignment. – High inference: Make adjustments such as noting what the teacher and student did. This statement is interpretation of what is taking place. Ask the student questions or record teacher – student interactions for clarity. 3.There are five students who had their heads down. – This is a low inference, factual statement. 4.This student is an English Language Learner. – This is a low inference, factual statement. 5.Two causes for the American Revolution were listed and discussed. – Although this is a factual recording, if more information were included about the student interaction and a transcript or excerpt of the discussion, it would allow for more specific feedback. Now Review… 21 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

22 Questions to consider in low inference classroom observations: What is the teacher doing? What are the students doing? What are students saying to the teacher? To each other? What is the task? How much time is spent on the task? What is the Depth of Knowledge of the task? 22 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

23 Sample Observation Options In preparing for low inference observations, you could choose to complete an anecdotal form similar to this before transferring ratings within the TLE Electronic Platform. This will assist in ensuring you have factual evidence to inform your ratings as you move forward. However, this is only a suggestion, you may also be able to use a laptop or mobile device to input low-inference comments directly into the notes library or comment feature within the TLE Electronic Platform. Copies are included in your participants guide. 23 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

24 A completed example: 24 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

25 Now That Youve Completed the Observation: Immediately return to transcribe any short hand. Double check notes to remove any subjectivity and include only factual evidence. Prepare for conferencing or written feedback by reviewing any strengths and areas of improvement noted. 25 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

26 An Example: 26 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

27 Turning Observations into Feedback Once you are able to efficiently record low inference statements during an observation, the feedback and conferencing become increasingly easier. Using observational notes, provide specific feedback during conferences that directly tie to classroom experiences and low inference observations. Make the feedback more about student learning to decrease the gap between teaching and learning in our classrooms. Written commentary and conference notes should be specific and non- judgmental, yet always revolving around the topic of student achievement. Use feedback and commentary to give value to rubric ratings as you conduct Walkthroughs and/or Formative Assessments. 27 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

28 How to Use Low Inference Feedback and Conferencing to Enhance TKES: Evaluator schedules significant, protected time to be in teachers classroom. During a classroom visit, Walkthrough, or Formative Assessment, the evaluator takes low inference notes regarding classroom interactions and student learning. Upon completion of the visit, the evaluator returns to complete the Walkthrough or Formative Assessment form electronically through the TLE Electronic Platform. Using either the Notes Library or Comment Feature within the TLE Electronic Platform, evaluators cite specific, factual evidence (low inference notes) from the visit to support the ratings on the TKES standards. Once form is completed, the evaluator can save and share the form with the relevant teacher. The low inference feedback on the form will provide consistent and factual evidence for the teacher to reference. The evaluator may choose to have a face to face conference after any classroom visit which will allow the low inference feedback to be used to discuss classroom practices and teacher professional growth, removing evaluator subjectivity and allowing for professional conversations. However, this is required mid-year and end-of-year. Low inference statements from Walkthroughs and Formative Assessments will be valuable references as evaluators review the totality of evidence and consistency of practice to rate the Summative Evaluation. 28 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

29 Reflection: Using the form on your participants guide, complete an action plan for implementing Low Inference Feedback and Conferencing. 29 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

30 A completed example: 30 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

31 31 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

32 Further Thoughts: Follow through with a plan to implement and practice low inference feedback and conferencing. Hold yourself accountable for consistently utilizing this school improving practice! Be sure to review the TKES rubrics and standards closely to ensure that your notes support the ratings you have recorded. Resources to support understanding of the standards are also available through the TLE Electronic Platform. If the conversations get tough once you have removed the unwarranted praises and niceties, reference the module on Courageous Conversations found on the TLE Electronic Platform. 32 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved

33 Additional Resources Crucial Conversations, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler Difficult Conversations, by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Shelia Heen The Magic of Conflict, by Thomas Crum FAQ about Conflict, by Judy Ringer 33 Georgia Department of Education Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent All Rights Reserved


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