Reflections on Skills-Building: 360

As part of our faculty assessment and professional growth program, called 360, I took part in a Teacher Reflection Group this year. Monthly, our cohort meets over a long, yummy lunch to dive into a question of practice that each of us is facing by unpacking a problem, asking questions to generate understanding, sharing observations about that problem, and offering action-steps to follow up.

Today, my question was: How can I provide students with immediate feedback on their listening and speaking skills without causing embarrassment?

Unsurprisingly, my colleagues were able to offer a lot in the way of observations and suggestions — and I hope to write a follow up post about those suggestions.  But by far the my biggest insight today is how hungry we all are for skills-oriented work. All of my colleagues, in the humanities, modern language, and in the arts, expressed interest  in developing shared assessment tools, vocabulary, and strategies around Speaking and Listening. So even as I muddle through rubrics, checklists, verbal and written feedback, today left me inspired to do that work on behalf of my students, and by my colleagues’ desires to collaborate around these critical skills.

The broader question I carry forward is: How best can we, as colleagues, across disciplines, share in this skills building work?

And, I leave inspired to attend to my reading list around Listening and Speaking and formative assessment strategies.  At present, that list includes:

  • Teaching the Core Skills of Listening and Speaking by Erik Palmer
  • How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students by Susan M. Brookhart

I would be so grateful if you could share other materials that inform your work with these skills, as well as experiences you have in cross-disciplinary skills building.



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