“We notice flaws in others more easily than flaws in ourselves.”
“I view the presence of distracted students on laptops in the classroom just as I view cheating – as a problem that can help us take a closer look at our teaching and make better decisions about it.”
incentivizing teachers through such a model is not effective.”
it’s impossible to tease out the role of financial incentives from the impact of professional development, mentoring, and other initiatives taking place in the schools.
<!--[endif]-->There was widespread confusion about the complexities of the incentive system and extremely uneven implementation of the program in different schools due to ineffective explanations to teachers, uneven support, and high turnover in leaders and teachers.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Some of the master and mentor teachers were not well received by their colleagues, either because of a non-transparent selection process or because they were not credible instructionally.
For teachers, the incentives weren’t large enough to incentivize improvement or even to stay in their schools. Many teachers remained for only a few years and then went on to better-paying jobs in other schools
“principals consistently said that money did not motivate them to work harder in a high-needs school or to change their practices to raise student achievement and that they therefore found the idea of pay for performance problematic.” As for classroom teachers, the authors found: “While payouts were appreciated, there were other priorities and values that motivated teachers to perfect their craft including commitments to teaching, and ongoing institutional supports.”
Teaching experience is positively associated with student achievement gains throughout a teacher’s career.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->As teachers gain experience, their students do better on standardized tests and also on other measures of success, including attendance.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Gains in effectiveness are most rapid at the beginning of teachers’ careers, but effectiveness continues to improve significantly into the second and often the third decade of classroom work.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->More-experienced teachers also contribute to improving student results for their colleagues and school.
Teachers’ effectiveness increases more rapidly when they are well prepared up front, carefully selected, teach in a supportive and collegial working environment, and receive intensive mentoring and helpful supervision and evaluation.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Teachers’ effectiveness also improves more rapidly when teachers accumulate experience in the same grade level, subject, or district.
Create conditions of strong collegial relationships and professional working conditions.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Maximize the time teachers spend at one grade level or subject area.
Start conferences by having parents share their impressions of how school is going for their child. Ask them to share what is working well for their child, what they see their child struggling with, and whether they have any specific questions they’d like answered during the conference. To save time, you can have parents answer these questions in writing before the conference. Showing parents that you value their expertise sets the stage for true collaboration. Hearing parents talk about their observations and concerns allows you an opportunity to assess the most productive direction for the conference.
Draw upon parents’ expertise throughout the year. If you’re struggling with a student, talk to his parents and don’t be afraid to ask for advice by asking questions such as, “Does this ever happen at home? What helps the situation?” True collaboration means learning from each other; building relationships with parents can help students receive better support at home and school.
2. Set Goals
During the Conference:
After having parents share their impressions of how school is going for their student, I shared my observations, student work, and assessment data. After looking at the information gathered from both home and school, I found success using this sheet to assess students’ progress and set goals. Sometimes I didn’t have enough time to fill in the sheet as I talked with families, so I jotted down quick notes during the conference and added more details later. Sharing the written record of the conference with parents helped to summarize our discussion and held us accountable for following through with action steps.
Revisit the action steps that were mutually agreed upon at the conference. Before winter break, consider sending home a copy of the action steps and having students work with their families to self-assess their progress towards their goals.
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"The key to inspiring children to pursue science can be found in the curious and inquisitive spirit we all tap into as we first discover the world. Wendy Hawkins demonstrates why we need to inject a more experimental approach into our science curriculum to ensure that we stay connected to the scientist in all of us."
"From rockets to stock markets, many of humanity's most thrilling creations are powered by math. So why do kids lose interest in it? Conrad Wolfram says the part of math we teach — calculation by hand — isn't just tedious, it's mostly irrelevant to real mathematics and the real world. He presents his radical idea: teaching kids math through computer programming."
"High school science teacher Tyler DeWitt was ecstatic about his new lesson plan on bacteria (how cool!) — and devastated when his students hated it. The problem was the textbook: it was impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and extreme precision, and instead make science sing through stories and demonstrations."
“The key to resilience is trying really hard, then stopping, recovering, and then trying again… Our brains need a rest as much as our bodies do… The value of a recovery period rises in proportion to the amount of work required of us.”
the best long-term performers tap into positive energy at all levels of the performance pyramid.” Here are the four levels:
being able to mobilize energy when it’s needed – depends on two things: (a) alternating between intense work and recovery; and (b) developing regular rituals to build in recovery.
For those of us who are not professional athletes, regular workouts each week, coupled with good nutrition and sleep, make a major difference in work productivity and enjoyment.
Positive emotions have a remarkable impact on reducing physiological stress, whereas negative emotions, even simulated, increase stress. The key, psychologists have found, is to “act as if.”
framing his response in positive language.
The key to improving cognitive work is focus, say Loehr and Schwartz. A big part of that is managing down-time – knowing the body’s need for breaks every 90-120 minutes – and using meditation and visualization.
Practiced regularly, meditation quiets the mind, the emotions, and the body, promoting energy recovery.” Experienced meditators need considerably less sleep and have enhanced creativity and productivity.
Spiritual capacity – By this, Loehr and Schwartz mean “the energy that is unleashed by tapping into one’s deepest values and defining a strong sense of purpose.”
Sometimes, when we’re doing work that isn’t in synch with how we feel, we have to put on our professional game face. That effort is known among psychologists as “emotional labor” – remaining energetic and upbeat despite a bad night’s sleep,
Here are some workplace conditions that increase emotional labor:
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->A mismatch between your personality and what’s expected on the job;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->A misalignment of values, especially if what you’re asked to do is in conflict with what you believe;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->A workplace culture in which particular ways of expressing emotion are endorsed, or not endorsed.
If you’re in a job that’s meaningful and largely aligned with your values, the best way to reduce emotional labor, says David, is to substitute surface acting with what she calls “deep acting.” Some tips:
• Remind yourself why you’re in the job you’re in.
Explore “want to” versus “have to” thinking. What aspects of the job energize you? How can other aspects be made more efficient and pleasant?
Do some job crafting. Can you and your boss tweak the work so it’s of greater value to you and the organization? Or is there a new project that would be fun and productive?
“Drill-and-practice is boring. But thinking, for most students most of the time, is actually fun.”
four strategies to engage students in higher-order thinking:
• Open questions – Every lesson should have two or three of these to highlight key content and thinking skills.
Wait time is important. Think time, no hands up, is a good admonition. “If you don’t provide enough wait time, you’ll get either no responses or surface-level responses,
In all-class discussions, teachers should resist the temptation to comment themselves, instead asking specific follow-up questions to get other students involved.
All too many student projects are simple regurgitation,
Students thinking, not just retelling
The way out of this dynamic is posing a thought-provoking problem
Another approach is asking “what if” and “what else” questions to push students to expand or elaborate on what they’re studying
Self-assessment – “Students who can self-assess are poised to be life-long learners,” says Brookhart. “They are poised to use self-regulation strategies and to be their own best coaches as they learn. They are able to ask focused questions when they don’t understand or when they’re stuck.”
Teach students to self-assess with rubrics. It’s important that the rubric goes beyond the basic level and stipulates higher-level criteria like stating a position, defending one’s reasoning, using supportive details.
Use confidence ratings. For example, students might be asked to use the “fist of fives” on their chest to indicate how confident they are that they understand a particular term or concept
Have students co-create success criteria. Studying material with which students are familiar, they can jointly create what the teacher and students will look for in their work.
consultant Karin Hess suggests analyzing student work in three layers: first describing the student work we actually see (or what students tell about it); then interpreting what the evidence might mean (specific to the intended purpose); and then evaluating what next steps should be taken. Hess outlines how the process of analyzing student work can be helpful to teaching and learning:
• Purpose #1: Improving the quality of tasks/prompts and scoring guides – Piloting tasks and looking at student work helps to clarify prompts, make tasks accessible and engaging for all students, trim unnecessary components, modify the wording of scoring rubrics, and tweak questions so they will measure deeper thinking.
Purpose #2: Making key instructional decisions – Observing and taking notes on students’ responses to this task gave teachers two specific teaching points.
Purpose #3: Monitoring progress over time – A good pre-assessment focuses on the core learning or prerequisite skills that students will need to build on, and teachers can sort and work with students according to what they need to learn to be successful in the unit.
Purpose #4: Engaging students in peer- and self-assessment – One approach is having students look at two pieces of work by other students side by side and asking them (for example):
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->What does each student know and understand and where might they improve?
What does the student know now that he or she didn’t know how to do as well on the first task? What were the areas of improvement?
Which piece of work comes closest to the expectations? What’s the evidence?
Students can use assessment evidence to set and monitor progress, reflect on themselves as learners, and evaluate the quality of their own work. “Valuing both one’s struggles and successes at accomplishing smaller learning targets over time has proven to have a profound influence on deepening motivation, developing independence as a learner, and building what we have come to know as ‘a growth mindset,’”
Purpose #5: Better understanding how learning progresses over time – Many skills, concepts, and misconceptions revealed in student work analysis are not explicitly addressed in curriculum standards. Looking at students’ learning trajectories in interim assessments and student work can guide teachers in the next step that students at different levels of progress need to take.
• Purpose #6: Building content and pedagogical expertise –
it is analyzing evidence in student work that causes teachers to reflect on how students learn and how to make their instructional and assessment practices more effective.”
“students who engage with rich, strategically-designed tasks on a regular basis learn that finding the answer is not as personally meaningful as knowing how to apply knowledge in new situations and explain the reasoning that supports their thinking.”
13 dimensions of school leadership
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For all the excitement, though, there are also hurdles.
One of the biggest: "Maker education" itself is a highly squishy concept.
In general, the term refers to hands-on activities that support academic learning and promote experimentation, collaboration, and a can-do mindset. But in practice, educators use "making" to describe everything from formal STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curricula to project-based classroom lessons to bins of crafting materials on a shelf in the library.
Should making happen primarily in a dedicated space or inside every classroom? And is the purpose of maker education to help students better learn the established curriculum or to upend traditional notions of what counts as real learning?
The whole point of maker education, Turner said, is to find new ways to engage students, especially those who have struggled to find a comfortable place inside school.
It's a belief increasingly borne out by research.
Academics have consistently found that making "gives kids agency" over their learning in ways that traditional classes often don't, said Erica Halverson, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There's also mounting evidence that making is a good way to teach academic content. "The fear out there is that schools have to choose between making and academic work, but empirically that turns out not to be true," Halverson said.
New attention is being paid to designing spaces that are welcoming for girls, students of color, and immigrant and refugee students.
At its root, the trend is being fueled by widespread fatigue with high-stakes standardized testing. The administration of President Barack Obama has also provided a policy boost, giving strong backing to STEM and computer science education and the redesign of schools. The sudden affordability of technologies such as 3-D printers, sensors, microprocessors, and laser cutters have exponentially expanded access to the tools for making.
And, perhaps most importantly, the makermovement has also tapped into a deep desire among many educators to return to the type of instruction that drew them to teaching in the first place.
Meaningful change takes time, the superintendent said, and it can't be mandated from above.
Efforts to bring maker education into schools might be messy and uneven. But so far, at least, the process has often been characterized by enthusiasm and growth.
Ultimately, Moran said, isn't that the point?
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