The impact of learner-generated feedback on teacher practice

M. Nora Mazzone, Pace University

Abstract

No Child Left Behind (NCLB), disengaged learners, minority achievement gap, standardized testing for accountability, disabilities—the list is endless. Open any educational journal, newspaper, or other form of common media and it is easy to find articles that detail the escalating challenges schools face when educating the ever-changing enrollment of their institution (Kerchner, 2009; Shaker & Heilman, 2008).^ Every school has a population of unsuccessful students who do not seem to participate in their own learning, thus continually confronting academic failure. We now know that there is a direct correlation between such failure and an individual’s self-efficacy and motivation to persevere (Martens & Witt, 2004; Shell & Hussman, 2008; Smith, Rook, & Smith, 2007). Although the size and complexion of this population may vary by school, NCLB legislation aims at assuring consistently high, measurable standards for schools across each state. Schools are held accountable for reaching designated academic bars. Student learning is reflected in the number of mastery ratings achieved on criterionreferenced tests in the subjects of English language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. The media publish the results of such mastery exhibitions. The unfortunate result is that the public uses this data to evaluate and form opinions regarding the expertise and overall effectiveness of the educational institution.^ Schools are compared to other schools in the area by both demographics and passing rates. Those who fail to meet the required mastery percentage for their total school population or specified subgroups (i.e. English language learners, students with disabilities, or students of Hispanic heritage) are publicly identified. Public comparisons often result in finger pointing from various stakeholders, such as parents, government officials, and school administrators—all questioning whether our teachers are skilled enough to meet the needs of the children assigned to their classrooms. Schools are desperately seeking out staff development programs that will increase pedagogical skills, thereby leading to increased student learning and achievement scores (Shaker & Heilman, 2008).^ The constituents search and search for the answer to the plight of the modern day educational facility. Practitioners struggle with increasingly heterogeneous populations. The media and parents blame lack of learning and engagement on the instructional skills of the teacher (Shaker & Heilman, 2008). The teacher bends under the stresses of accountability and at the same time, the constant need to differentiate instruction so that each child learns and achieves (Wormeli, 2007).^ Those are the facts, but the questions are even more numerous. What constitutes learning and how do we teach children the skills they need to be successful recipients of instruction? What makes a successful teacher? How do teachers become more skillful as they work beside our students each day? In sports, an underachieving athlete is removed from the game and practices until his skills are at the proficiency level required for competition. In the corporate world, there is the capacity to rewrite a report or renegotiate terms of the contract. However, in the complex business of teaching and learning there is no redo. The quality and effectiveness of what is happening at the moment is critical.^ Children need specific skills to be successful in school. The teacher must be able to teach those skills effectively in order for learning to occur. Teachers require meaningful feedback in order to know the impact of their instruction on student learning. It is essential that practitioners seek out and utilize feedback that will assist them in fine-tuning their craft. As we take time to digest the implications of these questions, we must consider the role that our collective knowledge of teaching and learning can play as we move forward.^

Subject Area

Education, Technology of|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

M. Nora Mazzone, "The impact of learner-generated feedback on teacher practice" (January 1, 2009). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3585261.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3585261

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