Supervisors' providing constructive feedback is an important component of home visitors' professional development. Affirming home visitors' effort and use of particular skills is a primary way to support the home visitor and build their confidence in their role. Equally as important is providing constructive feedback about their less effective use of skills or missed opportunities to use particular skills. If a supervisor does not provide feedback about less effective use of skills or missed opportunities, such as failing to point out that the home visitor could have drawn the mother's attention to the baby's cues, it may inadvertently reinforce whatever less effective approach the home visitor took instead. Giving effective constructive feedback can be challenging.
Best practices in giving feedback suggest it will be most effective when it:
1) asks the home visitor to self-assess their performance first,
2) acknowledges the context in which the interaction occurred, such as a home visitor feeling stress about something else,
3) focuses on specific, observable behavior rather than general impressions,
4) connects the behavior to agreed upon goals, such as program goals,
5) offers a concrete suggestion of a different strategy or behavior the home visitor could have used,
6) asks the home visitor to summarize what the supervisor has said and reflect on the alternative strategy the supervisor suggests.
In the video below, you'll see the supervisor use some of the strategies listed above to give the home visitor feedback about a missed opportunity to discuss the parent-child interaction with a mother.