Teachers College Columbia University

A Developmental Approach to Effective Feedback — Leadership Institute for School Change

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About the course

Feedback is more important today than ever before. In fact, offering feedback—so that others can hear us—is one of the most important ways we can support each other’s growth and grow ourselves. Moreover, feedback is part of living, leading, and being in our “new normal” world. As you know, it is also vital to collaboration. There are so many challenges that leaders—and all of us—face every single day in our work and in our personal lives. In the education sector in particular, new teacher and principal evaluation systems, the Common Core State Standards, Race to the Top, and other initiatives underscore the critical importance of giving and receiving meaningful, actionable, and effective feedback—regardless of our roles in schools and systems. And, the same challenge LIVES in for-profit and non-profit organizations and systems.

Yet, when and where do leaders learn how to give feedback, especially to adults who make sense of our words, feedback, and relationships in qualitatively different ways? And how might leaders’ own inclinations, preferences, and orientations influence their experiences with feedback, both the giving and receiving of it? This two-day, interactive Institute addresses these questions and offers participants an immersive experience with our new, developmental approach to feedback, which we call feedback for growth (Drago-Severson & Blum-DeStefano, 2016).

We will engage in two full learning days to:

  • Learn about adult developmental theory (Kegan, 1982, 1994, 2000) and its practical implications for leadership, coaching, professional development, and effective collaboration (Drago-Severson, 2004a, 2004b, 2009, 2012, 2016; Drago-Severson & Blum-DeStefano, 2016; Drago-Severson, Blum-DeStefano, & Asghar, 2013);
  • Explore practical strategies for enacting a developmental approach to feedback (Drago-Severson & Blum-DeStefano, 2015, 2016) so that others can best hear, take in, learn from, and act upon your feedback;
  • Explore a developmentally-based model for leadership and professional learning (Drago-Severson, 2004a, 2004b, 2009, 2012; Drago-Severson, Blum-DeStefano & Asghar, 2013; Drago-Severson, Roy, & von Frank, 2015) that focuses on supporting adult growth, and offers promising practices that can be implemented in your school and system; and
  • Engage in collaborative, developmental action planning to apply key ideas to advance your leadership and practice.

Who should attend

Everyone really! This Institute is designed for leaders and collaborators of all kinds—principals, AP’s, teachers, professional developers, curriculum specialists, coaches, district leaders, policymakers, and anyone interested in enhancing professional feedback across non-profit and for-profit sectors. All are welcome!

Trust the experts

Ellie Drago-Severson

Ellie Drago-Severson is Professor of Education Leadership and Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. A developmental psychologist, Ellie teaches, conducts research, and consults to leaders and organizations on professional and personal growth and learning; leaders...


Jessica Blum-DeStefano

Jessica is an instructor and advisor in the leadership programs, where she facilitates learning in courses about adult development and qualitative research. Her teaching, scholarship, and approach to leadership foreground the power of growth and interconnection—especially as they relate to indiv...


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