In 1989, a rare event happened in my life. I was in my 9 years of school. It was in a small village in Southeast Togo. I was in trouble.
A year earlier, in 1988, the school had to take a decision regarding my passage to next year class. I was the best pupil in almost all disciplines except in mathematics.
My bad mathematics skills compromised my qualification, but the school had exceptionally decided to give me a chance and moved me to the 9 years class.
During the first quarter of my 9 years class, my mathematics result still was bad and was compromising my overall result. However something happened that year which completely changed the course of my life.
I received a life changing feedback from the school director.
Regardless of my poor result, he wrote on my marks sheet (record book) to my parents “Good Student. Could do better”.
These few words sparked something miraculous in my mind. My confidence in myself soared. My mind opened up to new ways of learning. My mathematics marks improved, tough very little in the beginning.
I succeeded my 9 years class with good marks.
Two years later, I received an award for best mathematics and physics marks in my region. Since then, I had always been the first student of my classes till university.
From that life changing experience, today I think that The core competency of teachers should become feedback expertise, or how to give feedback that lift students mind beyond limits.
Nowadays, teachers don’t create the content they teach. Most don’t. They act mainly as information retailers, and babysitters.
In the information age we live in now, most of the information teachers retail is directly accessible to students. Reason why distinguished teachers are those who go beyond teaching to become feedback experts.
Like the saying goes, “if you don’t know what you are doing wrong you won’t know what you are doing right.”
Knowing what you are doing wrong is not often possible without a good feedback expert with domain knowledge and compassion.
The best teachers are feedback experts. The same as the best coaches and mentors.
Feedback expertise is a field in which any educational institution should invest and train teachers and school mangers.
I also think that teaching how to give feedback to teacher should become the core competency of any educational institution.