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Ladder of Feedback Guide for Classroom Observations
The "Ladder of Feedback”* is a protocol or structure that establishes a culture of trust and constructive support by sequencing feedback in order that is constructive.


The idea or plan is presented to the group. Then the group moves through the following steps (moving from one rung of the ladder to the next):
Step 1: Clarify
Ask clarifying questions to be sure you understand the idea or matter on the table. Avoid clarifying questions that are thinly disguised criticism.
Step 2: Value
Express what you like about the idea or matter at hand in specific terms. Do not offer perfunctory “good, but,” and hurry on to the negatives.
Step 3: State concerns
State your puzzles and concerns. Avoid absolutes: “What’s wrong is . . .” Use qualified terms: “I wonder if . . .” “It seems to me . . .” Avoid criticizing personal character or ability and focus on ideas, products, or particular aspects.
Step 4: Suggest
Make suggestions about how to improve things. This step is sometimes blended with step 3: people state concerns and then offer suggestions for addressing them. There is no set time limit for this process: It can be done in a few minutes or over the course of an hour.



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