Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TED Talk Tuesday: Teachers need real feedback

TED recently held a TED Talks Education Summit with a number of outstanding speakers. I haven't had the chance to watch many of the videos from this summit yet, but plan to get to them all soon. With so many great talks at once, it's hard to know where to start!

Today I'm sharing a talk by Bill Gates on teacher evaluation and feedback and his innovative idea for providing teachers with the feedback and coaching that they deserve to become better teachers. Did you know that most teachers receive almost no feedback on their performance? How can we expect teachers (and therapists) to improve and provide the best for our students if they're not receiving feedback (positive or negative) on their performance?

As the school year winds down, I try to take time to reflect on the past school year so I can create goals for myself for the upcoming school year to continue to improve my skills as an OT and to provide the best services possible to my students. After watching this video, it makes me realize how valuable video feedback on my performance could be (although I'm sure it would also be a bit uncomfortable at times to watch myself on video).

What do you think? As you watch this video, I'd like to know what you think of Mr. Gates' plan for providing teacher feedback. Would you like to watch videos of yourself teaching or providing therapy? How do you currently reflect on your performance? Does anyone ever observe you or provide you with feedback?


  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing this TED talk Abby! I have been craving constructive feedback from my supervisors for years. I had completed a self-eval and had my supervisor perform one after my first year working as a school-based OT. After that, we haven't had department-wide ways of performing evaluations.

    I pretty much rely on what teachers, parents, and other therapists tell me. But have found that what I really would like is for another OT to observe me. I've had a couple of fieldwork level 2 students which helped me develop in certain ways, however I know what I really want is measurable goals and someone to hold me accountable! Just like IEP goals, right!?!?! What a catch 22!

    I agree with you, watching a video of myself would be uncomfortable at times, but I think that it would be the most effective way of promoting awareness and change, and thus, improvement. The teacher in the video was so engaging and well-spoken! It would be interesting to see a video of myself during an IEP meeting where I present a complete OT eval, and also during pull out and push in sessions.

    Thanks again for posting this. I just started reading your blog and am excited to read more!

    1. As OT's maybe we should be writing IEP goals for ourselves. It would give a us a benchmark to see if we are making gains each year as a therapist :) Thanks for reading!

  2. Great post with important points. I agree that school based therapists are not often evaluated. In large districts, you may get observed but not often. I would love some constructive criticism and video taping a session would provide a good way to get that done. Perhaps at a monthly meeting, colleagues could review the video tapes to provide helpful feedback.

    I have created 10 end of the school year questions for school based therapists to answer as a type of reflection on the previous school year. You can view it here 10 End of the School Year Questions for School Based Therapists

    1. Your end of the school year questions are a great starting point for therapists looking to reflect on the previous school year. It can be easy to forget to reflect in the craziness of the end of the year. Thanks for sharing!


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