We all know that regular, targeted, bite-sized feedback is the best way to fine-tune our teaching practice. We also all know that it is the constant feedback which we are so used to receiving as trainee teachers which can sometimes dwindle as we progress through our careers.
The 30 day challenge inspired by Matt Cutts is a great way to not only engage staff, but also refine pedagogy. If you don’t have a few minutes to watch his TED talk, the concept is quite simple. 30 days is just about long enough to form a habit.
I adapted this idea and asked all teachers to commit to working on one aspect of their teaching practice for 30 days with the support of a colleague. Each day we all received some form of input into our own challenges, whether this be by popping into each others’ classrooms for 10 minutes to focus on the chosen aspect, sharing a resource, observing another colleague, or even having a conversation about our area of focus.
We shared our reflections as a group as we went through the 30 days, and by the end of the first cycle not only did we all feel we had refined our practice, but more importantly we had strengthened collegiate links.
For those who are maybe thinking we don’t have the time or resources to invest in daily feedback, I would absolutely challenge this. By focusing only on the element that will make the most impact, and making this the same priority for 30 days, a short visit and / or any of the other feedback mechanisms is definitely achievable. When creating a culture of ‘productive tinkering’, there is nothing more important than making the time to think about our own practice.
I also showed the clip to all our students in assembly and they undertook their own personal or class 30 day challenges alongside us. The sense of focus and energy was tangible throughout the school community.
The language of the 30 day challenge is now part and parcel of our learning and teaching discourse and has certainly been one of the most ‘stickable’ things I have done. I am happy to share resources if anyone would like to see them.