Sunday, July 31, 2016

Telling It Like It Is!

"This is Howard Cosell telling it like it is" was a statement I heard often in my youth and early adult years. It was the unique manner in which the legendary  Cosell would close a sports broadcast or an interview with a prominent sports celebrity. This was Cosell's method of providing the viewer or listener with perspective or feedback.  As humans we seek feedback for multiple reasons, including guidance, support, growth, and positive reinforcement. We also are empowered with the opportunities to provide it. 

Our physical and social emotional development from a very early age hinges on the feedback that we receive from others. Ultimately it shapes both our personality and behavior. We must consider this when we deliver it orally or in writing. Before delivering feedback it is essential that we build relationships first, in order to establish trust and respect with those who will eventually receive it. 

As an educator one of the most important parts of my job is to deliver feedback to my students and colleagues.  Experience has taught me that positive comments need to precede constructive criticism. Moreover it is most effective when it is immediate and specific. My students traditionally appreciate a narrative that accompanies the grade for their assignments as it allows them to implement suggestions and build on their performance.  They also appreciate positive affirmations that follow their oral presentations, as they usually light up after receiving them.

My students are also given a voice and provide oral and written feedback often on the structuring and implementation of assignments. Teaching them the appropriate manner to deliver feedback is a vital part of their growth as well. They learn the appropriate manner in which to deliver constructive criticism and feel validated as a result. This reflexive practice continues to be a vital resource for my own professional growth and strengthens my pedagogy.  The feedback that I receive from them, helps to shape the way I design future assignments.

Throughout our lives we will provide and receive feedback for many different reasons and in many different forms. We truly are better as global citizens, when we seek help from each other and in turn when we reach out to help others. This is true at any age. While it is important to "tell it like it is", we are always best served when delivering feedback to do so in a positive manner and then keep an open mind when we are on the receiving end. 

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