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The Importance Of Feedback To Drive Teacher Growth – Jennifer Oaten

The Importance Of Feedback To Drive Teacher Growth – Jennifer Oaten

L-R Michelle Carrick, Meghan Franzinelli

Every year we survey our new parents and ask them, “What are the main reasons they chose Santa Maria College?” The quality of the teachers is the number one response. Without great teachers, Santa Maria would not be achieving consistent academic results and many other great outcomes for our students. Our teachers are the backbone of our success.

Providing our students with effective feedback on tasks is how our staff assist students to improve. We value feedback, and this is why we have a whole school focus. We focus on what effective feedback looks like and how we can consistently deliver it. Feedback is one of the reasons we see significant growth in our students.

Equally important is the need to provide feedback for our staff, feedback that enables our staff to grow in their role and improve their effectiveness. I value the importance of growing staff, and it disappoints me to read that many professions give very little feedback to enable this growth.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s (AITSL) Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework (2012) called for all schools to establish a coaching and feedback culture to improve teacher performance. Santa Maria continues to build our culture of teacher improvement, and this week, we launched, with the 21 staff involved, the GROW program for 2021.

What is the GROW program?

In 2015 Santa Maria College introduced the GROW program. GROW is a review and goal setting program aimed to affirm and acknowledge strengths and improve teachers’ performance.

The GROW program is designed to:

  • provide feedback,
  • encourage reflective practice,
  • assist in setting new professional goals, and
  • support the ongoing professional development of teachers.

Our evidence-based processes of peer observation and feedback and online student surveys provide teachers with feedback on their performance, encourage self-reflection, and inform the setting of realistic yet challenging professional goals.

Many schools are amazed that our students complete an online survey on their teachers responsibly and provide valuable feedback, affirming and providing suggestions on how their teachers can enhance their learning.

"By allowing students to complete online surveys regarding how teaching and learning can improve, allows for a sense of common purpose at our College. It gives students a platform to voice each individual's opinions on how we as a College can continue to improve our learning environment."

Stelle Hammond - Head Girl 2021 Tweet

To deliver such a robust program, the College has a dedicated Head of Professional Learning, Michelle Carrick, who supports staff in all areas of professional learning and development. This role is key to the success of this program. Our College leaders are also trained in GROWTH coaching and assist Michelle to lead and implement this program.

"Programs like GROW are valuable because teachers receive feedback on key aspects of their role. They also give teachers the space to reflect on their practice. Essentially, GROW celebrates what teachers are doing well and helps them identify areas for development so they can set goals to improve their practice. Teacher professional growth leads to great outcomes for our students".

Michelle Carrick - Head of Professional Learning Tweet

The GROW program underpins our culture of improvement and our value of ‘Excellence’ at Santa Maria College. It is an integral ingredient in providing excellence in girls’ education. We are so fortunate to have such an incredible team of growth-focussed teachers focussed on both themselves and their students.

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