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Sunday, December 28, 2014

On Being Out of Tune With the "Tuning Protocol"

We were asked by our A.P. to attend a special P.D. session in the week before break.  One of our colleagues wanted  feedback on a class assignment.  We sat in one of the only rooms available in our overcrowded school to observe some examples of the power points made by her students.

I really didn't mind looking at the projects and offering suggestions.  I do this kind of thing all the time.  What I did mind was the fact we were asked to operate within the framework of something called a "tuning protocol."  Are people paid money to come up with such stuff?  Is there too much time on some people's hands?  Why do we need to operate with a formalized structure to offer simple feedback?

We were asked to view samples of projects and then respond, using categories of "warm" and "cool" feedback.  Perhaps you think I am getting too old for this, but I would have had the same reaction twenty years ago.  Life is too short for such nonsense.  We are adults.  We are capable of a normal conversation.  I trust my students enough to carry on a normal conversation.  Our comments do not need to be guided into artificial categories.  We can discuss and digest issues in polite, scholarly terms. 

I asked what was on my mind, "Why can't we just have a normal conversation?  Why do we have to use artificial terms to shape our discussion?"  We all respect one another.  I hate to be the bearer of dissonance, but I found this format disrespectful of our professionalism--although I know it was not intended as such.  Do you sense by now that I am fully out of tune with this "protocol"?

My colleague on the left pointed out that my feedback was "cool."  And I had to laugh.  He was right--except given that as parents we both live in the world of Disney, it might better have been called Frozen--minus the literal bolts of ice.

The discussion continued and I contributed feedback at several points, as I am trained to do as a teacher, and as I might do as any caring and sentient human being.  I will offer anyone who asks, any suggestions I might think helpful, but I refuse to be boxed in by the latest gimmicks of ed. reform.  If you choose to label this post or my comments as cool/cold feedback, please do so, but don't forget to put on your muffs! 

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