Feedback is a structured class group activity led by the school psychologist, Dr. Craig Stevens, that encourages children and teachers to share constructive ideas, feelings and constructive criticisms with one another, teaching listening, communication, patience and openness.
The program enhances communication skills, increases self-awareness and develops a language for expressing feelings. It teaches the difference between expressing feelings and expressing cognitions (advice or judgments). It helps participants learn that although expressing a feeling won’t necessarily change the person to whom the feeling is expressed, there is great value in not “harboring” feelings. Such unexpressed feelings can have interpersonal and intrapersonal effects.
On an interpersonal level, they can spill into future interactions or leave others in the dark about the impact of their behavior. On an intrapersonal level, unexpressed feelings can affect self-concept. Thus, one who refrains from expressing feelings might be left to doubt whether others care, whether problems can be worked through, or whether one has a valued voice in the group.
The Feedback program is not a group “tell all”; its structure does not allow indiscriminate expressions of feelings that are inappropriate in a classroom. Feedback also provides a way to process class events, trauma and celebrations. It can provide a balance among various classroom subgroups. It can also be a time to reinforce positive change, and for teachers to learn about social issues in the classroom. Feedback is not meant as an end in itself: The idea is that the skills and attitudes fostered through this exercise will be generalized to other situations in the students’ lives.