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The Importance of Feedback
by Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn is working toward National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist.

December 15, 2003

Nicole, Stephanie C., and I met with the mentor again to look at the accomplishments for entry four. I really did need another pair of eyes to look at them. Because of the nature of the activity, I need to incorporate myself as a learner and as a leader in one accomplishment. And even though I've edited and revised them at least seven times, I'm still not done with them . (I know I keep saying it, but this baby needs to go to bed!)

So we all traded off papers in order to get feedback from one another. Looking at someone else's paper, even though they aren't in the same certification area, was extremely helpful. It allowed me to see how to make connections to student impact ( I had struggled with that on the second accomplishment). The comments from the others were helpful as well.

So I'll revise it again, finish typing the third (and maybe fourth) accomplishment, and continue to work on all of the rest of the entries. So much for tackling one task at a time!

My advice to other candidates is to get feedback -- which can be very valuable -- and to read as many other applicants' papers as you can. Sometimes you might not see by yourself a connection that could be made.

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Meet Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn, one of Education World's 2002-2003 teacher diarists, received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Rhode Island in May 1994. For the first two years of her teaching career, Stephanie worked as an enrichment specialist in the talent development program for the Westerly, Rhode Island, school district. For the past seven years, she has taught fourth grade at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly. Stephanie was awarded a 2002 National Educator Award by the Milken Family Foundation, in a program that provides recognizes elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education.

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