Accomplishing the maximum impact on student learning depends on teams of teachers working together, with excellent leaders or coaches, agreeing on worthwhile outcomes, setting high expectations, knowing the students’ starting and desired success in learning, seeking evidence continually about their impact on all students, modifying their teaching in light of this evaluation, and joining in the success of truly making a difference to student outcomes.
- student learning depends on team of teachers working together
- educators need coaches
- the team agrees on worthwhile outcomes
- high expectations are essential
- educators seek evidence about their impact on learning
- teachers shift instruction based on evaluation
- share in the success in making a difference
Collaboration is essential to help all students learn
Educators need to become vulnerable and look to colleagues and their PLN. Too often educators feel they need to know everything feeling awkward to reach out for help. Reaching means we accept we are good at what we are not.
Educators as coaches
It's easy to tell someone how to do something. Early in my marriage I asked my father-in-law how to change the oil within my wife's car. He quickly rattled off how to do it; I never attempted it. Expert learners can tell students how to learn or coach them. Coaching requires more time and interaction, and is more difficult to to do.
Coaching means a deep commitment to students that goes well beyond saying I'm your teacher. It is the inward drive to help every student reach their full potential.
Coaching is sitting down next to a student and talking with them. Not just saying what they need to improve or asking them questions, but building a solid relationship.
Deciders of learning
Deciders of learning make deliberate decisions to deepen student learning and not just move through the lesson planning process.
Deciding on learning is starting with the end in mind - how will students prove their learning. With a firm grasp of assessment, educators deliberately choose complex learning verbs with associated student created artifacts. There is deliberate way in which students learn but have autonomy to create learning products. Assessment is embedded, formative, and ongoing. Educators coach student to create rich final products; these are the assessments.
Complex learning means high expectations but build a relevant learning context so students can succeed. Just saying to students they have to produce learning is irrelevant; they don't care. Give them a meaningful context and students will work hard to reach those high expectations.
Educators desire authentic feedback
We can't do our job if we aren't getting quality feedback. Students should be the primary source. Ask them often what they think and why.
Students may or may not deliver the feedback in a kind way. It may sting a bit especially if it is true. Take the core of what they say and use it to change how you go about your business. Maybe your explanations need to be more understandable. Maybe you need more empathy. Maybe you need to incorporate real life learning.
Shift instructional practices based on feedback.
Share learning success
It's easy to feel successful if test scores are good. It's easy to feel successful if students pass high stakes tests. It's easy to feel successful if quarter, semester, or year grades are above average. It's more difficult to feel successful when students struggle to achieve.
When students really struggle to learn, and we have to spend hours with them, it feels like failure because they didn't get it right away. Success isn't measured in the amount of hours spent coaching, but every instance of hard work students give to learn. This is success.