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Reblogged from hacking-curriculum
Everything You Need to Know About Giving Negative Feedback
by Sarah Green
There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there on giving corrective feedback. If you really need to criticize someone’s work, how should you do it? I dug into our archives for our best, research- and experience-based advice on what to do, and what to avoid.
Never, ever, ever feed someone a “sandwich.” Don’t bookend your critique with compliments. It sounds insincere and risks diluting your message. Instead, separate your negative commentary from your praise, and don’t hedge.
Schedule regular check-ins with your direct reports, so that giving feedback — both negative and positive — becomes a normal part of the weekly routine.
Don’t lump your critical feedback together with discussions of pay and promotion — as in typical year-end evaluation. This creates a toxic cocktail of emotions even the most mellow employee will have trouble managing. Instead, make these separate conversations.
The adage “praise in public, criticize in private” is an old management mantra. But sometimes, you have to be critical in public. Holding people accountable sometimes means discussing performance issues with the group, even if it feels uncomfortable.
Ask permission. This may sound odd — especially if you’re the boss — but you can tip people off that a critique is coming (making them more receptive to hearing it) if you start the conversation with, “Can I give you some feedback?”
Avoid jumping to conclusions or seeming like a bully by sticking to the facts. For instance, if employees are leaving early and showing up late, they could be having a family emergency or a health issue. Simply state the behavior you’ve observed and let them explain what’s going on.
Try framing your critique in terms of the positive result you want to achieve, rather than as what’s wrong with the person. Make it about the impact the employee could achieve by working differently. Ask “What are your goals?”
If you’re delivering some particularly hard-to-hear news, consider giving the person the rest of the afternoon off. Studies have shown that top performers are especially vulnerable to major setbacks. Show compassion not by softening the blow with false praise, but by giving bad news straight and then offering some breathing room.
If the person you’re giving feedback to gets defensive or lashes out, keep your preferred outcome and preferred working relationship in mind. You can’t prepare for every possible thwarting mechanism someone might throw at you, but you can control your reactions.
Recognize that everyone wants corrective feedback — yes, even Millennials and even experienced, expert workers. Consulting firm Zenger Folkman found that while managers dislike giving critical feedback, all employees value hearing it — and often find it even more useful than praise.
There’s one important caveat here, however, and that’s the ideal praise-to-criticism ratio. While we may not be willing to admit it to ourselves, we do need to hear praise. And studies of both the most effective teams and the most happily married couples have shown that the ideal ratio is about five compliments to every criticism. So do shower your team with kudos — just don’t do it at the same time you’re critiquing them.
And when you do offer plaudits, praise effort — not ability. Carol Dweck’s well-known research has shown that’s the best way to keep people motivated and it makes criticism feel less threatening and personal. After all, if you’ve been told your whole life, “You’re so smart!” a rebuke might make you wonder, Am I dumb now? Focusing your praise on behaviors — “You guys really put a lot of attention to detail into this” or “I’m so impressed with how hard you worked to get this done on time and under budget” — means that when you have to deliver some corrective feedback, people are more likely to take it in the same vein rather than as a personal attack.
Sarah Green is a senior associate editor at Harvard Business Review. Follow her on Twitter at @skgreen.
Crazy new maths. What are they teaching these days?
I think this curriculum focus too much on concepts and not enough on mastery. There needs to be a balance. The standard algorithms may be boring, but they’re efficient.
Reblogged from bobbycaputo
PORTRAITS OF NEW YORK CITY EDUCATORS AFTER SCHOOL
After the bell has rung and students vanish in a blaze of noise, Brooklyn-based Aliza Eliazarovcaptures New York City educators in the quiet after the chaos. A former teacher of eight years, Eliazarov describes this time as a poignant moment in each day, the silence flooded with a range of emotions. Posing a series of simple questions, Eliazarov allows these teachers for once to turn the attention to their own personal musings and burdens. Whether the response is pensive or anxious, content or exhausted, each teacher endures with an unceremonious bravery and resolve. Honoring those seldom thanked, See Me After School is a glimpse into the everyday triumphs and trials of today’s resilient educators.
Reblogged from gjmueller
Click on a state for detailed information about that state’s teacher policies or explore the results of the 2013 Yearbook further in the State Yearbook Dashboard.
Top Talkers: Teenagers are making no progress on international achievement exams, the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment results show. Jon Meacham, Julie Pace and Mike Barnicle discuss.
Newly released data suggests American students haven’t improved over time when it comes to education. Randi Weingarten discusses.
After about half a million students took the PISA exams, US performance remained flat. America has a child poverty rate nearly double that of some countries that outperform the United States, which is thought to be a factor. Experts say the test results will likely intensify the debate over education reform. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.
Can the Common Core State Standards transform teaching and raise student achievement? The Hechinger Report and the Education Writers Association looked at seven states in depth.
Reblogged from gjmueller
Parents and teachers often say “good job” as an automatic response to a child’s action.“You ate all of your peas. Good job!” “You did a good job putting away the toys.”
A “good job” now and then is fine, but it doesn’t help children understand why what they did was good. Preschoolers need to know what they did, why it worked, or why it shows they are capable. Try the following suggestions to give preschoolers specific, detailed information that recognizes their achievements and encourages their learning.
Reblogged from theatlantic
Just seven years ago, the Texas Legislature mandated that all high schoolers pass two algebra courses and geometry to graduate. This summer, the state reversed course, easing its strict math, science, and social-studies requirements to free up class time for job training.
Texas legislators want to create a more flexible system that helps students who aren’t headed to four-year colleges enter the workforce. And it’s not just Texas. State legislatures nationwide are enacting laws to promote career and technical education and workforce training in high school.
But that approach carries risks. While it’s true that not all students will go on to college, pulling back on college preparatory coursework has to be handled carefully in a state like Texas, with its hundreds of thousands of low-income and minority students. They’re the students who would benefit from college the most—and who need the most help getting there.
Read more. [World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr]
Reblogged from theatlantic
Private school teachers make way less than public school teachers. Average salaries are nearly $50,000 for public, and barely $36,000 for private. That’s not just a gap. It’s a chasm.
Teacher compensation has become a key part of the public debate over American schools. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has sounded the war-horns for higher salaries. New Jersey governor Chris Christie wrestles with unions over benefits. When she was chancellor of the D.C. public school system, Michelle Rhee fought to remake teacher pay scales, en route to becoming the most divisive figure in American education. And whatever your agenda, the salary gap between public and private threatens to rewrite the storyline. If public schools pay too little, why do privates pay even less? On the other hand, with better-paying public-school jobs available, why do so many teachers accept lower salaries in order to go private?
Read more. [Image: Warner Brothers]
Reblogged from theatlantic
There are endless schemes for improving education, from testing to vouchers to charter schools to standards and back to testing again. There’s one simple step, though, that isn’t on the list of de rigeur reforms that would decrease education costs and increase the relevance and breadth of the curriculum. That step is letting copyrights lapse.
As Timothy B. Lee wrote last week at the Washington Post, we’ve just passed the 15 year anniversary of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. That law retroactively put another 20 years onto all works due to enter the public domain. It ensured that iconic songs by Gershwin and, iconic properties like Mickey Mouse would remain private property for another two decades. Extending copyright provided an enormous windfall to those owners. The money and incentives being what they are, it seems likely that Disney and others who stand to profit will lobby Congress to extend copyright even further the Sonny Bono Act lapses five years from now.
Read more. [Image: Ryan Stanton/Flickr]