Leaders and Teacher Collective Efficacy

Leaders and Teacher Collective Efficacy

My current reading is Jenni Donohoo’s book, Collective Efficacy: How Educators’ Beliefs Impact Student Learning.  “Collective teacher efficacy refers to the collective self-perception that teachers in a given school make an educational difference to their students over and above the educational impact of their homes and communities.” (Tschannen-Moran and Barr, Leadership and Policy in Schools) John Hatti has identified collective teacher efficacy as the number one factor influencing student achievement. With an effect size of 1.57 he ranks it as double the impact of teacher clarity (.75) or feedback (.75) Donohoo identifies these teacher behaviors and learning environments as positively connected with teacher efficacy: (page 13-14) Putting forth greater effort and persistence, especially with students experiencing difficulty Trying new teacher approaches based on effective pedagogy Conveying high expectations to students…
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Collaboration Skills

Collaboration Skills

I read with great interest a white paper titled, Skills for Today: What We Know about Teaching and Assessing Collaboration.   As a teacher in the 70’s, I approached many lesson designs, grouping my students for cooperative learning.  I did all my teaching during those years as a member of teaching teams which reinforced my beliefs in collaboration to improve results. As a graduate instructor in the 80’s and 90’s, I built cooperative activities into my teacher training work and trained teachers to use cooperative learning strategies. My work with site-based management, school leadership teams, and PLCs continued to strengthen my focus on building teams with collaborative skills. The white paper on collaboration, produced by Pearson and P21, is the first of four which will address the 4Cs of collaboration, communication,…
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Leaders Assessing and Setting Goals

Leaders Assessing and Setting Goals

My end of the year facilitation sessions, both live and on Skype, continue to focus around the examination of the gaps that exists between ‘what educators want students to experience and gain’ and ‘what is the current reality’. A blog,  What Should High School Graduates Know And Be Able To Do?, by Tom Vander Ark,  provides some great resources for engaging teams in discussions around what they believe to be most important in setting a  vision and goals for student learning. The links in the blog provide several examples of organizations’ and school districts’ decisions about “what we want students to know and be able to do”. I was particularly interested in the Summit Public Schools Network’s Deeper Learning aspirations. Their four elements of college readiness include: Content knowledge: Engaging in…
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Shame in School

Shame in School

My partner, Michelle, was recently preparing for a parent workshop she was offering around the importance of vulnerability. She used this diagram to outline the interaction among connection, compassion, courage, gratitude, and vulnerability. Michelle and I are often sharing our explorations, findings and questions with each other as we design learning plans for others. This always increases our learning and insights. One of the items she shared with me as she researched was a blog post by Brene Brown titled, Teachers, Shame, and Worthiness: A Lesson Learned. Brown writes that a statement she had made in a video was interpreted by some teachers as “teacher bashing”.  She spoke of classrooms where a teacher might use shame for classroom management. Brown suggested she should have been clearer in her example and she shared…
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School Leadership Team Goal- Setting

School Leadership Team Goal- Setting

I recently did a Skype facilitation for a school leadership team to set the stage for their goal-setting for next year. I thought you might be able to use some of the elements in your leadership planning. As a starting point, I suggested they needed a vision of student learning. A plan for continuous student growth in learning requires agreeing on desired learning outcomes. We began by exploring these tasks: List student achievement results you are making now that are most rewarding of your efforts. What would you identify as desired areas of advancement in student achievement that extend beyond our current success? After this initial conversation, I took some time to examine “deep learning.” The PBS video Teachers Embrace ‘Deep Learning,’ Teaching Practical Skills,   illustrated examples of fourth grade…
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Engaging Learners

Engaging Learners

I recently took part in the Bridges Conference in Cape May, New Jersey and attended a session titled Tune in and Turn It Up!  Engaging Students in the Classroom conducted by Sunny Weiland ([email protected]) and Chris Juhasz ([email protected]). Sunny and Chris, modelling engagement in the session, shared 20 different strategies to actively involve students and encourage collaboration. The first strategies they shared dealt with building relationships among teachers and students. Example: Unforgettable Neighbor (Ed Nuhfer, University of Colorado at Denver) Have students meet a ‘neighbor’ and introduce themselves. The assignment is for the neighbor to introduce their companion “with a trait no one can forget.” Obviously, the partners have to be helpful with a trait or mnemonic aid. Pick randomly from around the room for introductions. After a third person is…
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Future Focus

Future Focus

I read with interest, an announcement  of  Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new graduation initiative designed to guide post-secondary success for students of all levels by requiring that they develop plans for life after graduation. Starting with current freshmen – the Class of 2020 – students would have a post-secondary plan in hand in order to graduate. The Mayor stated, “High school graduation is a milestone, not a destination,” and suggested “ensuring every student has a plan for success after high school is the right thing to do for our students’ futures, and the right thing to do for Chicago’s future.” Under the proposed policy, the following would meet the graduation requirement: College acceptance letter Military acceptance/enlistment letter Acceptance at a job program (e.g. coding boot camp) Acceptance into a trades…
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Feedback for Students and Teachers

Feedback for Students and Teachers

I had a request to facilitate a workshop for principals and instructional coaches examining feedback as an element impacting student learning. I began the session with an exploration of current thinking by having coach and principal share their thoughts in response to these questions: How important do you believe feedback is to student learning? Why? What elements make feedback most effective? Less? Least? What do you observe in teacher feedback during observations of instruction? What have you seen looking at teachers’ feedback comments on student work, in online communications, in formal assessments and reports? What is your assessment of teachers’ current understanding and skill in providing effective feedback? Which teachers need to make what changes in their practice? With their current thoughts identified, I presented some information taken from, The Power…
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Soft Skills for Students and Teachers

Soft Skills for Students and Teachers

During the past four years, I have had the opportunity to work with school leadership and teachers in the Bismarck, North Dakota district. A special opportunity has been working with the Career and Technical Academy staff. Recently I was in a discussion concerning their work with Career Ready Skills and realized the connectedness to skills needed for successful teacher collaboration in creating optimum learning for students. I asked Dale Hoerauf ([email protected]), the director of career and technical education, to provide some information: The Career and Technical Education programs serve students in grades 9 thru 12 in the Bismarck area.  We have a partnership with Bismarck State College which allows students to articulate high school course work to post-secondary.  As an example, a student can graduate from our Electronics class and start the…
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The Root of School Innovation

The Root of School Innovation

As a member of the Learning Forward Foundation board, I am part of a team exploring a think tank for innovation. “We are inviting leadership teams to engage in the Learning Forward Foundation’s year-long Innovation Think Tank Challenge. Innovation within our educational systems is important for ensuring that we meet the needs of each child and that our educators are prepared to implement their own learning. An innovation mindset is critical to building the capacity for change within a system that leads to transformative practices in teaching and learning. “ As I approach this work, I have thought about what it is that drives educators to innovation and transformation. George Couros* writes that the innovator’s mindset starts with empathy for the students and a desire to create something better. He…
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