Weekly Column from the Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta
When you think about the most successful organisations and businesses, customer feedback and satisfaction means everything. How often have you been asked how the meal was; whether you enjoyed your stay or how you would rate your driver? Feedback is about improving the quality of the service – it’s a win for the customer and a win for the business. The question is always what could schools learn from this?
We know the notion of student feedback hasn’t always been a high priority for schools. And if it has, it’s often an add-on rather than an integral part of the learning and teaching. The traditional model of schooling was based on information travelling one way – from teacher to student. In today’s world, information is fast-flowing and anyone with access to a mobile device can provide instant feedback that is shared with everyone.
That’s not the main reason why student feedback is important in schooling. Research tells us that when students are able to provide regular feedback throughout their lessons about how and what they are learning, it creates a powerful feedback loop that drives improvements in teaching and learning and ultimately student achievement.
Feedback I have seen from primary and secondary students shows just how much they appreciate having challenging learning tasks, how much confidence they gain when they are able to take control of their learning and how much they enjoying working with students to share diverse ideas and create new knowledge. It allows teachers and schools to continuously monitor whether what they are doing is actually having a positive impact.
One of the most important questions parents can ask of schools is whether they are using student feedback to improve the learning and teaching. This will tell you whether learners are seen as active participants in their learning or passive recipients.
As the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, said recently, their customers are ‘jewels’ and this means they care deeply about what they think. Schools also need to care deeply and trust what students think about the quality of our work.
Greg Whitby AM
Executive Director of Schools – Diocese of Parramatta