Academic journal article The Mathematics Enthusiast

Feedback to Support Learning in the Leadership Institute for Teachers

Academic journal article The Mathematics Enthusiast

Feedback to Support Learning in the Leadership Institute for Teachers

Article excerpt

Abstract:

Feedback is a type of formative assessment used to inform instruction and advance learning. Feedback serves as a mechanism to connect teaching and learning at the student level. Learners receive feedback, formally or informally, as they engage in learning experiences. Within the Leadership Institute for Teachers, a National Science Foundation funded research project, we are exploring feedback as a research-informed process to support learning and improvement for individuals, teams, and university courses. There is an explicit focus on creating a culture of critical thinking and reasoning, taking ownership for learning both individually and collectively, and understanding how to improve teaching and scholarship through an iterative feedback process.

Keywords: Formative assessment, feedback to advance learning, course improvement, mathematics teacher leaders

How do mathematicians, math educators, and teacher leaders utilize feedback to support learning in the Mathematically Connected Communities Leadership Institute for Teachers (MC2-LIFT or "LIFT")? This article provides an opportunity to understand how feedback is used to improve MC2-LIFT courses, lessons, and learning experiences for the mathematics teacher leader project.

Mathematicians and math educators are engaged in MC2-LIFT, a National Science Foundation (NSF] project focused on developing teacher leaders in mathematics. This project provides opportunities for building content and pedagogical content knowledge 2 cakinzer@nmsu.edu

(Shulman, 1986) for effectively teaching K-12 students mathematics. Six semesters of coursework are designed to build professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions for the teacher leaders. This article (a] introduces our interest in feedback as a research-informed process for improving learning, (b] provides an overview of the LIFT project, (c) and presents specific examples of how and why feedback is used and what we are learning through these processes.

Feedback is a type of formative assessment used to improve instruction and provide mechanisms to support continued learning. Learners receive feedback, formally or informally, as they engage in learning experiences. Feedback can be motivational, evaluative or descriptive and based on standards or learning goals. Within our research project, we are exploring descriptive feedback as a research-informed process to support learning and improvement for individuals, teams, and courses. There is an explicit focus on creating a culture of critical thinking and reasoning, taking responsibility for learning both individually and collectively, and understanding how to support learning as a reflective process, within the LIFT project. These foci afford rich opportunities to provide and receive oral or written feedback on lessons, mathematics writing, classroom videos, and a variety of course experiences to move learning forward.

Provide Constructive Feedback

The course designers utilize a reflective implementation and learning cycle to improve the course experiences and strengthen individual learning. Within this cycle, feedback provides data to assess practices, inform instruction, and to give information that is used to adjust and improve the academic experiences. This feedback process includes receiving input based on learning goals or agreed upon expectations, acting upon the feedback to make revisions, and determining next steps for an individual assignment or perhaps for a lesson within the LIFT courses. A central tenet of the LIFT project is that everyone's ideas contribute to the learning and assessing the impact of those experiences on individual and collective scholarship. An overview of the LIFT project is followed by our exploration into how feedback can be useful in supporting learning and how to solicit that feedback effectively.

Overview of the MC2-LIFT Project

The MC2-LIFT project is a 5-year research partnership between New Mexico State University (NMSU) and southern New Mexico school districts. …

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