Double Loop Feedback :
Acilitating mutual awareness of how one learns to learn The times when the teacher should correct performance are often the most difficult as well as the most significant. It is easier to identify errors and deficiencies in the actions of others than to communicate them in a way that continues their willing engagement in correcting them. Because people rarely produce actions that do not make sense to them (they act intentionally), they naturally tend to become defensive, confused, or ashamed when criticized or given advice. Yet individualized correction is often the key to improved performance. An effective feedback procedure should enable reflection and self-correction without fostering hostility or defensiveness. Double loop feedback (29) is a method of providing correctives in a way that maintains the learner's continued engagement in the process of acquiring competence and self-confidence. It sequences the statements teacher's make by starting with least inferential and examining both the learner's performance and the evaluator's assumptions at each stage. In double loop learning an open-ended cycle is created where the teacher and the learner cooperatively examine both the learner's performance and the underlying perspectives the teacher brings to regard that performance. Optimal correction is possible when both parties responsibly work for error detection at each level of inference before proceeding to the next. In other words, get the facts right first; then work to agree upon what 'most people' would agree those facts to mean. As opposed to the natural tendency to think of judgments and opinions first, this procedure holds them in abeyance.
• Step 1. Objective Description of Physical Reality: State the facts as you see them:
» 'There are 14 misspelled words here.'
» 'Since I assigned the class the task, you have asked me four questions.'
» 'You pointed your finger at the person you addressed.'
Get agreement before proceeding any further, for correcting errors may not be possible unless both parties agree to a common set of facts.
• Step 2. Culturally Accepted Meaning: Describe what a jury or group of informed spectators observing the event would conclude and check that generalization:
» 'It hasn't been spell-checked. That true?'
» 'You are using me as the first resource not the handouts or your friends, huh?'
» 'Wouldn't most people conclude that your non-verbal gesture implies an adversarial rather than cooperative stance?'
Again, get agreement. Usually the learner will either justify or correct when the behavior is recognized as holding an accepted meaning. This level of inference is the same used by journalists and anthropologists to describe events and actions as viewed from a culturally specific viewpoint. That viewpoint, too, is also suspect and, to be fair, should be examined simultaneously----thus the term double loop.
• Step 3. Judgments and Personal Reality: After the above have been discussed and agreed upon, the judgments of both parties can be stated without inducing animosity or defensiveness. People naturally attach meaning to events in accord with their own life experiences. Nothing is wrong with this, but these opinions are unreliable. By keeping them out of the feedback discussion, both parties can attach meaning to events with greater reliability, often without judgments ever entering into the discussion. At times it may be wise to check first with the recipient before moving into this stage: 'Would you like my opinion?'
» 'That many mistakes imply you don't care if it is ever read.'
» 'I would like to see you find more answers independently.'
» 'Your message is more likely to be heard if you speak about yourself instead of attacking others.'