Monday, March 24, 2014

SOLSC #24: On being Specific, Informative, and Postive

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

I'm on spring break so you know what that means. Sleeping in till 8, staying in bed reading until 9, and then just as the sun is shining through my blinds, I get up for a cup of coffee and turn on Good Morning America. Then, I can be as lazy as I want until my fave yoga class at 11:30: Hot Power Fusion. It's soo good, and today was no exception.

Going to class during the week and during the day means way less people and lots more space in the studio. Today I got up front and all the way towards the wall, forgetting that this means the teacher would demo on me so everyone behind me could see the form various poses would take. When we get to the Warrior II - Triangle - Reverse Warrior sequence, that's when she came over to cue the class for adjustments.

Now, this is my favorite class so I'm super used to the sequence, and, not to toot my own horn, but I have heard teachers cue for correct posture so many times, I can almost self-talk myself through them. So there we were, and we're in Warrior II and she's talking about sinking deeper into our front leg of the lunge, rotating our back kneecap to the ceiling, and stretching our arms forward and back equally to engage all our muscles.

In case you're not familiar with yoga, this is Warrior II:

and then we moved on to Triangle Pose:

and finally to Reverse Warrior:

Now when I was doing this pose, the teacher softly whispered that I needed my arm to reach straight toward the ceiling rather than reaching back, as if I were in between two walls. She helped me adjust, and then continued to cue the class. And, when we got back to Warrior II and she got up to leave, she told me that I did a really good job.

And so this got me thinking about feedback, and how she used it so well to adjust my practice, and also model to the rest of the class the proper form. Which got me thinking about teaching, and how equally important feedback is in our classrooms.

Back in my early years when I worked in Phoenix, our admins always told us to "SIP" kids - provide them with feedback that was Specific, Informative, and Positive. This became the natural habit I used for classroom management to get the desired behaviors in class, and as I mastered classroom management, this SIP strategy transferred to the feedback I gave to students on their reading, writing - everything. I sipped kids verbally during instruction and in writing as I graded their papers. And when I did it well, kids were able to change their behavior and/or work in order to perform better in class.

Being in yoga class today reminded me about learning - and how anytime we're learning something new, we need feedback and it should be specific (focus on your arm), informative (reach up toward the ceiling as opposed to back toward the wall behind us) and positive (great work!).

I think that the best teachers are always on the hunt for providing this kind of feedback to their students - whether that is in a yoga studio, a middle school math class, or a first grade guided reading group.

How do you provide feedback to your students? Have you had an experience lately when you received great feedback? Please share!

Happy Monday! May this week progress at a turtle's pace so I can enjoy every moment of this spring break!


  1. I love the comparison you make between you as a yoga student and you as a teacher. The SIP method works well. I just need to remember to use it more often with my students.

  2. One of the many reasons we need to be lifelong learners of anything. If we are not, how can we truly help our students?

  3. Interesting to me how those of us who are teachers are always watching and learning from other teachers, no matter what they teach. I love the quote- so, so, so true!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I appreciate your connection in the third paragraph re prior cueing and its ensuing self-talk. For me, this is one of the goals of giving and receiving feedback - to empower one's inner coach. As we work on giving those we work with useful feedback, I think it's helpful to remember that the ultimate goal is self-regulation, as opposed to "getting it right". Thanks for sharing your insights.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...