The feedback that I received yesterday and the reflection I’ve been doing in response to that have inspired the following question: we spend so much time planning as educators, but how often do we attend to reflective practice and how often do we formally assess our own work? There has been so much talk about formative assessment lately that I guess it’s only natural for me to wonder how often any of us ask our colleagues to help us formatively assess our own practice. I learned so much from yesterday’s peer review, and I’m convinced that asking for this sort of feedback consistently will help me improve my work….substantially.
What would happen if every person in our field were to make this sort of work a priority? What if preservice teachers and staff developers were trained to understand that peer review and self-evaluation were just as necessary to solid planning as that check for understanding we’re always so careful to include?
What would happen if I invited my colleagues to position themselves as critical friends while I’m doing the work that I do…regularly? What if I asked them to observe my demo lessons, attend coaching sessions, or participate in a training that I was leading? What new learning could be realized? How might it help me serve other people better?
What if administrators invited their colleagues to do the same?
What if teachers did?
What if everyone from students to superintendents asked others to coach them and engage in peer review with them?
What if planning for these opportunities became as important as planning our anticipatory set, our guided practice or our think aloud?
What if discussing our struggles and asking others to help us identify flawed practices became as comfortable as sharing what we’re good at? What if conversations like these happened with such regularity that people no longer felt threatened by them?
What would happen then?
I woke up this morning with this on my mind, and it’s evening now, but I’m still finding it all worth thinking about.