Home Page
Lower Darwen Primary School: We are proud of our school!
Home Page
Lower Darwen Primary School: We are proud of our school!

The Critical Friend

Throughout these pages you will have seen or will see the term 'a Critical Friend'. So what does this mean? Below is a brief description of the role and in turn will enable you to understand the main part of being a Governor.


The role of critical friend has been introduced in many school systems that see themselves as learning organizations and know that learning requires assessment feedback. A critical friend provides such feedback to an individual—a student, a teacher, or an administrator—or to a group.


A critical friend, as the name suggests, is a trusted person who asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through another lens, and offers critique of a person's work as a friend. A critical friend takes the time to fully understand the context of the work presented and the outcomes that the person or group is working toward. The friend is an advocate for the success of that work.


Because the concept of critique often carries negative baggage, a critical friendship requires trust and a formal process. Many people equate critique with judgment, and when someone offers criticism, they brace themselves for negative comments.


Critical friendships, therefore, must begin through building trust. The person or group needs to feel that the friend will:


  • be clear about the nature of the relationship, and not use it for evaluation or judgment;
  • listen well: clarifying ideas, encouraging specificity, and taking time to fully understand what is being presented;
  • offer value judgments only upon request from the learner;
  • respond to the learner's work with integrity; and
  • be an advocate for the success of the work