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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 8/14/23 - Go Beyond Visiting Classrooms

This week’s tip: Go Beyond Visiting Classrooms


The SAM process is all about intentionality. Leaders often say they want to give teachers more feedback about what they observe. This makes sense, as working effectively with teachers requires thoughtful conversations.


Determining your purpose for having a feedback session starts in the SAM Daily Meeting. When you select the descriptor for feedback, you are stating your intentionality.


Directive Feedback: Your intent is to provide direction. You are stating an expectation, a “non-negotiable”. Your intent is to gain compliance.


Non-Directive Feedback: Your intent is to get the teacher to talk about a particular issue, or instructional practice, and think through options and ideas. Your intent is build competency and a commitment to trying new ideas and approaches to help students learn.


Celebratory Feedback: Your intent is to point out a “win” and get the teacher to talk with you about it. Your intent is to cement good practice and let the teacher know you appreciate their work…without going to the next step. Why? You know it is more likely the teacher will keep doing the good work you observed if you can let them enjoy the win…and they will be far more receptive for the other two kinds of feedback, Directive and Non-Directive, if you don’t rush things. Think of this as cementing good practice.


Good SAM’s make it a point to ask the leader after they’ve watched a lesson what kind of feedback they would like to schedule.


Are you receiving The Marshall Memo every Tuesday? You can receive it at no cost as a SAM team member. Published 50 times a year since 2003, The Marshall Memo is designed to keep principals, teachers, instructional coaches, superintendents, and other PreK-12 educators well-informed on current research and best practices. Kim Marshall, drawing on his decades as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, consultant, and writer, lightens the load of busy educators by serving as their "designated reader." What Kim spends 20 hours creating each week, you can read in 20 minutes.


To produce the Marshall Memo, Kim subscribes to scores of carefully-chosen publications, and every Sunday reads through the 150 or so articles that arrived that week and selects 8-10 that have the greatest potential to improve teaching, leadership, and learning. Each Monday, Kim writes a brief summary of each selected article, provides e-links to full articles (if available), highlights a few compelling quotes, and by late evening starts the Memo sending to subscribers. The rest of the week, Kim is in schools coaching principals, observing classrooms, consulting with school leaders, and giving presentations. This work is what keeps the Memo grounded in the real world of teaching and learning.


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Registration opens for the 17thAnnual National SAM Conference, September 4, Labor Day



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