Constructive Criticism

How can we as adults give on another constructive feedback on the work we are doing in our classrooms? That is the question we worked to answer today as a faculty as our various department heads presented a protocol for a "fishbowl" exercise. Sitting in the middle of the faculty meeting room, English Department Chair Alicia Hammond used a writing assignment she is using with her students as an example of an assignment for her peers to critique. Math Department Chair John Adams acted as facilitator and the other department chairs took time asking questions and providing "warm and cool" feedback on the assignment. The key to the success of the exercise, which the entire faculty proceeded to practice in small groups, is based on the strict protocol that we all had to follow to prevent the discussions from getting off track, too personal, or away from the original dilemma presented by the teacher. We are fortunate to have a very smart and humble faculty who have a solicitous mindset when it comes to seeking constructive criticism. The goal, after all, is to create assignments that will stimulate the curiosity of our students and provide them with meaningful work--two critical goals of our mission.