Episode 54: Be Intentional about your Feedback!

feedback podcast Sep 11, 2023

I challenge you to be more intentional about the way you're praising your students this week, and then observe how it directly impacts their motivation and effort in your class!

Here are the links mentioned in this episode:

Back to school student survey on TPT
Classroom Jobs in the World Language Classroom Blog
Classroom Jobs Course
Positive phone calls home blog
Positive phone calls home podcast
The Rise and Shine Collective for building a consistent morning routine!
Want to know more about La Familia Loca PLC!? Check it out here!

Have a minute?
Write a review for the podcast on Apple Podcasts



Welcome to Teaching la vida loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity and guidance in centering joy, and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most, our students. I'm your host, Annabelle. Most people call me la maestra loca. And I'm an educator just like you and inspiring teachers is what I do. Hello, welcome to episode 54 of teaching Vida Loca. I am so happy we're here. And listening to this podcast episode I am positive this is always already going to be one of my favorites. Even with the mistake at the very first sentence out the gate, that's brilliant, so authentic Annabelle. But no, really, I am super excited about recording this episode because I'm going to be sharing something with you that has been transformational and very supportive for people that I've coached either one on one, I've coached in school buildings, or I've coached in group coaching sessions. And it's something that I think is directly linked to student motivation and not something that is the first thing you think about when you think about motivating students.

Sparking Motivation  

The theme of the month in La Familia loca PLC is simulating synergy sparking motivation. I am obsessed with alliteration. And since it's September, I was like, yes, we're going to talk all about sparking motivation and stimulating synergy in our classrooms. And one of the seven pieces of tips or, or strategies, or actionable items that I shared with my members this month, was specifically around feedback for motivation. Now, I'm not talking about feedback on a paper necessarily like handwritten feedback, I'm talking more specifically about the verbal feedback that you give your students and how it can directly impact their motivation, or the opposite of that. It can make them incredibly unmotivated. And feedback impacts not just the person hearing it, but every single child in that room. So, feedback is incredibly impactful, and powerful. And I want to talk to you about some of the things that I shared with La Familia loca PLC this month. That could be actionable takeaways for you right now that you could implement today in your classroom. Or if you're like listening in the evening, then you can start implementing right away tomorrow. 

A Testimonial 

First, a little testimonial, a little story this week. Isla came home. She’s my stepdaughter. And she is feeling incredibly defeated when it comes to schoolwork, but mostly math. She has gone back and forth with reading being more challenging than math and then reading and then English. She’s just struggles in school, which is very normal. I struggled hardcore in school. Her dad did, but he didn't really care. I cared very much, and she cares very much. And she's tired of struggling. But I was really concerned by something that she said. She said, atdat, that's what she calls me. Side Story. We think that she she named me that when she was just older than 18 months old, atdat. And my mom thinks it's because I was the lady at dads, because I came into her life when she was six months old. And that was always the lady at dads. So, we think that that's why she called me at debt. Anyways. So, this week, she said atdat, I'm just not smart. And I'm not as smart as blank. And she named a student in her class. She said, I'm not as smart as at math as blank is. He's so good at math. He always is so quick to answer things. His hand is always up, and I said, Oh, you're not as smart as Brianna Wells. Sorry, Brianna, if you're listening this, I doubt I don't know what you're doing. I'm sure you're like some chemical engineer or some brilliant scientists somewhere in the world. But I said Isla, I still remember that kid in my class. I still remember the kid in my class, who was the genius who answered every question and was like a plus and two grade levels above everybody else and wanted everybody to know it was the teacher's pet blah, blah, blah. And she said, really? I said, Yeah, and I am 34 years old, like this is, you're going to remember that kid's name forever. And I said, but what makes you say that you're not as smart as him. You're so smart. And she said Well, not at math. I already know why she said that. Because she hears her teachers. And I love her teachers to be clear, but she hears them giving feedback and praise for the person and not the action. What do I mean by this? I mean that when they are praising the student that she's comparing herself to, they're saying, You're so smart. You answered that so quickly, you're so smart, you're so good at math, they're praising the person and not the action. Now, praising the action would sound like, wow, you worked really hard to get that answer, right. Or I noticed you used all of the strategies that we just learned in that lesson to tackle that problem, or, wow, I noticed that you didn't give up the first time you got it wrong. And you worked hard to try another strategy in your tool belt, before answering the next time, or I noticed that you checked your work before you turned it in. I noticed you went through every step, using our whatever, whatever it is, in a world language classroom, it could look like, wow, I am so proud of the fact that you just took a huge risk and spoke the target language in front of your class because that takes such serious like courage, because it's not like, I mean, you've been speaking English for how many years, you're 14 years old, oh my gosh, like, that's amazing that you just spoke in your second language, and you've only been in this classroom for a couple of months, I'm so proud of you, that is incredible. Praising the action over the person is not just impactful for that child, it is telling every other child in the room, that you are admiring the action that the person is doing that others are also capable of doing, rather than the person who they don't feel like they are. Or maybe they don't want to be that person. So, it can be quite an motivational, it can be quite the opposite. It can be a turnoff. It can be a eh, I'm never going to be that person. Clearly. That's the teacher's favorite, right? Instead, if you're praising the action. And the kids say, oh, dang, I can do that. Oh, it's that easy, I can do that. It's much more empowering and motivating. Because you're praising the action, right? Giving consistent feedback on the action is more motivational and impactful than you could possibly imagine. And there's so many ways to do this. You can have kids shout each other out, you can share little notes of gratitude. One of the things that I am very intentional about doing is asking at the beginning of the year, how my students like to receive feedback. It's something that I was, I did in a Google form. In my back to school, I have this on my Teachers Pay teacher's my back-to-school survey, in a Google Form format, and on a paper, but this year, I just went student to student when we were doing our stations for classroom jobs, after checking in with them about their new classroom job and about their job application. I said, Okay, can you let me know how I would give you feedback on your job? Like, are you a person who really likes to be shouted out in front of the class for doing a great job with your classroom job? Do you prefer like, handwritten notes? Do you prefer like, one on one comments not in front of the class? Do you like positive phone calls home, and they were able to list what they liked and what they didn't like, now built into a Google form that can work to or your back-to-school survey, that can work too. But getting that really is a huge help in how you praise your students beyond just like feedback on their risk taking or their growth in reading or writing or speaking or whatever it is in your class. That can be really, beneficial. It also gives you insight into who is desperate for that positive feedback wherever home is or to whoever their person is. 

Who Makes Them Proud?  

Another little nugget I'm going to give you in this episode is ask them who their favorite person is to make proud. I did an incredible activity that Bertha Delgadio shared. It's a free resource that she did on connections and classroom community building in the year, early in the year and it was on a hexagonal thinking. I don't know if I said that right. But kids have to find connections between themselves, and other people based on the same set of questions that they answered. And I made that one of the questions this year like who is the number one person that you'd like to make proud? Oh, my gosh, so special. I had kids list their after-school teacher. I had kids to list their aunties and name their aunties, I had tons of kids list older siblings as who they cared most about. And now I have even more power and leverage when I'm making these positive phone calls home. Because y'all know, if you don't know me and my obsession with positive phone calls home yet I will link a podcast and a blog for you, it will transform your year. But then you know who to call home to, who their person is. Now I know, for a couple of my students, it's not even calling home, it's letting their dance teacher, their after-school dance teacher know how they're doing in my class. That's who they want to make proud, because they know they're gonna hear from that person, how proud they are of them, like, oh, how impactful is that. And it's such a tiny nugget that you can do. And then keeping track of it, you could just have their regular roster, I have a roster and then I have listed how they like to receive feedback, who they like to make proud. And it's all right there so that when I sit down to the end of the day, I can make those positive phone calls. Now. I don't do it every single day, I used to be much better about it actually had way more prep time. So, I did do it every day. Now I do it once a week. And I think that that can be enough. In fact, one of my Familia local members messaged me on Instagram the other day, Rebecca. And Rebecca said, Annabelle, I just made several positive phone calls home. And I'm so excited. And I said, Oh my gosh, that's so awesome. Tell me how you feel? How do you feel? And she said, It feels amazing. And I'm not talking about an email, I'm talking about a 3o second phone call to share with a family member or a somebody in the community who is helping raise this child, how proud you are of what they are doing in their class. And Rebecca teaches high school, can you imagine getting those calls as high school, a parent of a high schooler or an auntie of a high schooler to hear that they are risk taking in your class and you're just so proud of the progress they're making and the effort that you're seeing them put in every day? Like, how powerful is that? It's so powerful. All too often parents are called if we they need to step up at home and support us. Like how powerful it is just to say, hey, I just wanted to let you know that I'm so proud of the effort that your child is putting in. It's so powerful. 

Join Me Next Week!  

Anyways, I hope that you found this podcast helpful. I think that feedback is wildly motivational, or quite the opposite. And I hope that you can start thinking about it in a more intentional way in your classes. Again, this was just one little nugget from our workshop of the month this month in La Familia loca PLC, but it's something that I felt like, no, this is something I need to share with everybody right now. Because really, what you're doing is developing a growth mindset when you're sharing feedback in this way, instead of a fixed or a set mindset, right? Like this growth mindset of Oh, that is something I can do. That is something I can push myself towards. And when you acknowledge kids and recognize kids for that, oh, it's so powerful. It's building community. It's building relationships. And it's building a classroom where you're cultivating our culture of risk taking, which is what we love to see in a world language classroom. Okay, teacher, I am so grateful for you. Just a reminder, the rise and shine collective starts next week on September 18. If you are eager to spend a little bit of every day with me for four weeks around building a consistent morning routine to start your days in a more positive and productive way. I encourage you to check it out. You can learn more in the show notes or you can go to tinyurl.com/rise and shine loca that's tinyurl.com/rise and shine loca. I would love to support you in building a consistent morning routine. And until next time, I'll be teaching la vida loca and I am sure you will be too.

Thank you! 

Before you go, I meant to, I'm trying to do these plugs earlier, but I never remember in the middle of recording eh, but I've had people telling me like this plug needs to happen earlier in the podcast. But if you could do me a favor if you enjoyed this episode, please go ahead, and take a picture of yourself listening or take a screenshot of your phone as you're listening to it, post it on social tag me or send it to a friend that you know is a classroom teacher and you're like, oh my gosh, you need to hear this thing on feedback. Or better yet, go and write me a review on Apple podcasts. It's been a while since anybody written has written one. It really helps my podcast out. It really helps me grow. It really helps other educators find me and learn about why you find this podcast inspirational or impactful. I hear about it all the time in emails and in my DMs and I appreciate that so much. But maybe if you could just take a second, instead of DMing me this time, go ahead and write a review on Apple, I would be so grateful. And then I can shout you out on the podcast next time and maybe read that out loud. I'm so grateful for you, teacher. Take care of yourself and I look forward to chatting with you soon. Take care. Bye bye.

Stay connected with tips, tricks, and inspiration!

Join my mailing list to receive tips, tricks, strategies, activities, and inspiration straight to your inbox!

Get inspired!