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Informal Feedback: Experiencing Professional Growth in Real Time

3 min read
Feb 16, 2023 8:00:00 AM

How informal feedback in teacher coaching can help your teachers get better faster and experience real-time growth.

Liz Ryan, a contributor for Forbes, responded to an HR Director’s question about abolishing performance evaluations at their business.

Liz points out in the article that “It doesn't help an employee move forward for a manager to tell them what they did well and did badly last year. If a manager needs to give someone feedback, they should do that in the moment — not months later.”

Is Formal Feedback on Its Way Out?

In a 2018 study conducted by Wakefield Research, a fountain of information was uncovered when it came to analyzing the gaps in employee and employer expectations with regard to performance management. You can check out the findings here.

Some of the findings included:

  • Over 90% of employees want their manager to address performance mistakes or development opportunities in real time when they happen.
  • Nearly half of employees don’t feel comfortable raising issues with their boss between formal performance reviews, but nearly three-quarters say they’d be more proactive in raising issues or concerns if they received more frequent feedback.
  • More than half of office professionals want performance reviews or check-ins with their supervisor at least once a month, but 69% of executives say they still only conduct performance reviews or check-ins on an annual or biannual (twice a year) basis.

There is a lot of debate on this topic from every point on the spectrum.

At SchoolMint, we’re particularly engaged in this topic, because we know the greatest factor affecting student achievement is the quality of the teacher in the classroom.

And although we recognize the role of formal evaluations for the purposes of performance management and determining compensation, many companies have moved away from using formal evaluations because they contribute little to nothing in terms of actually improving performance.

How else does this apply to education?

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The Importance of Informal Feedback in the Classroom

To accelerate teacher growth and improve classroom outcomes, informal feedback should be given with the opportunity to implement that feedback as soon as possible.

It can be real-time but doesn’t have to be — within 48 hours is ideal, and within a week, anecdotally, can still have an impact.

The most important thing is that informal feedback doesn’t allow for eons to pass before the learning/teaching moment is lost.

It can still be performed within an organized structure where constructive feedback and celebratory praise can be delivered, say, in weekly or monthly check-ins with an instructional leader. The magic of informal feedback is in its flexibility. 

At SchoolMint, we partner with over 1,200 schools around the country, from charters to large traditional districts.

Here’s what some of our partners have said about how their teams use SchoolMint Grow for informal feedback:

How did you get started, and where are you seeing the most success?

“[We] dove right in. Sharing clear expectations for all folks involved was the most important part.” — Lisa Hogan, Growth and Performance Specialist at Denver Public Schools

What aspect of informal feedback do you find most challenging, or hope to improve?

“In the past, informal feedback was a much more laborious process. It was more time consuming than it needed to be. With quick feedback, it created a simple but powerful process to consistently provide feedback and simple quick fixes and dialogue with the teachers.”  — Amy Berns, Principal, Edison School of the Arts

How does documenting your informal feedback in SchoolMint Grow support the process?

“Documenting informal/quick feedback in [SchoolMint Grow] greatly supports the process because it keeps the documentation and a timeline of all of the feedback support and helps you to remember areas that you are pushing a teacher to grow in. It also works nicely with supporting action steps that our coaches assigned... It is helping to truly transform the way we give feedback, track feedback and most of all support and grow our amazing staff!” — Amy Berns, Principal, Edison School of the Arts

SchoolMint Grow . . . helps you to remember areas that you are pushing a teacher to grow in.
Amy Berns


“Totally helps! Make the process more transparent and clear for all parties involved.” — Lisa Hogan, Growth and Performance Specialist at Denver Public Schools

Track Your Formal and Informal Feedback with SchoolMint Grow

SchoolMint Grow was built in 2011 to make it easy for schools and districts to keep track of both formal and informal feedback — everything from standard performance evaluations to frequent, high-leverage bite-sized action steps.

The platform seamlessly integrates video coaching and generates insightful reports to hold teams accountable for the frequency and quality of feedback.

No matter what your needs are for feedback, SchoolMint Grow can accommodate them. Whether you’re in a traditional school district or charter system, feedback is integral for development.

It’s the thing that helps our team get a little better every day, and we are ready to help support yours.

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