Bird Crap and Feedback

Yesterday I got to hear George Couros speak.  For a long time I’ve been following him on twitter and reading his thoughts on learning.  I had no idea that he’d be speaking at the MISA event that I would be attending through Project NeXt.  It was a pleasant surprise.

In his keynote there was one story that really stuck out for me.  He talked a lot about a tweet that someone had sent out mocking Smart cars:

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Smart responded in a way that grew their online presence.  They took Clayton Hove’s criticism and used it.

I think that that’s what I really try to get my students to do: take criticism and use it.

At the beginning of the year I can remember my grade 2s crying every time I’d offer them constructive feedback.  They thought that I didn’t like their work or that their work was no good.  It took a little while to develop a common language, a language that reminded them that I wanted them to be their best.  It took  a lot of time and sensitivity, but it worked.

Now they freely do it on their own:

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They get it.  If you’re not open to receiving help, then you’re never going to improve.

I’m lucky to have that kind of relationship with my family.  They’ll question me and lovingly criticize and push me to be my best.  Having said that, I do wonder how to make that happen in the workplace.  There’s tension around unions and the nature of feedback that we give/receive in the publicly funded school system. That’s a good protective measure.  I wonder though, if there’s a way that we can find a common language (rooted in positive feedback and constructive criticism) to help us grow and be the best we can.  

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