Feedback Do's & Don'ts
Beyond providing a world-class tool to help you generate fantastic narratives, we
want to share knowledge to help to process flow as smoothly as possible.
When it comes to writing narratives, educators should strive to be accurate, clear, and tactful. While we provide many constructive tips, we believe it's also important to address several DO's and DON'Ts:
It's hard to imagine anyone enjoying being blindsided by bad news. Parents are no different. The best way to combat a surprise is keeping parents informed early on. When parents are informed early, they have the opportunity to provide their own help or seek assistance. Early notification also offers a chance for the student to improve. Much animosity can be avoided if the parents are informed early.
Omit Negative Words
Parents certainly want their children to enjoy learning and to succeed socially as well as academically. Negative language typically creates a bad tone which often leads to defensiveness. On the other hand, when the teacher conveys a positive view of the student, parents are more willing to support the teacher. Narratives should be written from a "glass-half-full" perspective steering clear of the following words:
Always Cannot Can’t Don’t Isn’t
Never No Not Unable Won’t
Using the word "always" obviously denotes consistency in student behavior or performance. However, when used in conjunction with a negative trait, this word suggests the student is incapable of changing. Instead, find ways to rephrase these ideas in a more constructive manner.
Refrain From Labeling
Above all, parents want to know the teacher cares for their child as an individual. If you write that their child is "lazy" or "unmotivated", parents will undoubtedly be angered. Why? Not only does the statement convey a negative view of the student, it also comes across as judgmental suggesting the student is incapable of changing. Furthermore, labeling often results in attention being shifted from the child’s behavior and performance to the teacher’s pettiness.
Write In Everyday Language
Parents should be able to read narratives without having to consult the dictionary or the teacher. If necessary, find ways to rephrase educational jargon in layman's terms. Acronyms should be used sparingly if at all because they have a tendency to confuse readers. If you feel the need to use an acronym, spell it out word for word the first time. Then place the acronym in parentheses immediately afterward. You might even need to explain the meaning. Throughout the rest of the narrative, you can use the acronym as is. Parents will appreciate the extra effort knowing you put in a little more time to ensure they fully understand.
We all have our own pet words and phrases that we frequently reuse. But parents expect teachers to have a well-rounded vocabulary. With this said, use a variety of adjectives and adverbs while steering clear of overly sophisticated words or analogies.
Provide Clarity To Curricular Standards
If your school utilizes a grading system that identifies specific curricular standards, avoid wording that simply reiterates the same descriptors, expectations or the terms taken from the achievement chart. In other words, instead of using words that would promote redundancy aim for clarity.
Another secret to progress report comments is brevity. Each paragraph should focus on developing a single idea, stripping every sentence to its cleanest components. Every sentence should be clear and concise using each word thoughtfully and purposefully.