According to a study from the University of Washington Foster School of Business, humble people are more likely to be high performers in individual and team settings. They also tend to make the most effective leaders.
“Humble leaders foster learning-oriented teams and engage employees. They also optimize job satisfaction and employee retention.”
The research team defined humility as a three-part personality trait consisting of an accurate view of the self, teachability, and appreciation of others’ strengths.
“Two of the best predictors of performance—both academic and on the job—are intelligence and conscientiousness,” Johnson says. “We found that humility predicted performance better than both.”
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Teachers at the school often say they’re “teaching kids to teach themselves” and rarely answer questions directly; instead they ask students to consider other sources of information first.
mixing age groups accelerates learning.
“When you get kids collaborating together, they become more resourceful and they see themselves as experts,”
Birmingham Covington’s unique bee project, like much of the coursework prioritized at the school, was driven by student interest.
“Science literacy is teaching our kids to be curious about the world around them, with the problems they identify,”
“Kids need to learn teamwork-based skills because every other class in any other subject that they have—third through eighth grade—requires them to work in different sized groups accomplishing different tasks,” Heckman explains.
The school’s voluntary Teacher Labs—facilitated by an instructional coach and organized around a clear, written protocol—enable teachers to reflect on their craft with support from their peers. Through the labs, small groups of teachers observe each other’s classes and then offer constructive feedback around a stated objective.
They put these skills to use in Thinkering Studio, an elective class where they design their own independent learning projects, and Engage, a class focused on design thinking—a system of solving problems that follows the steps of inquiry, ideation, prototyping, and testing.
In Engage, teachers Roy McCloud and Mathew Brown guide students to work on various self-directed, team-oriented projects like designing a new sport for third graders or building a roller coaster. Their support and feedback direct students toward the right resources while encouraging them to dig deeper: Did students ask the right questions? Did they get the right information? Did they go to other groups for feedback?
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How many of these do schools teach? Just three, say the authors, even in schools where students get high state test scores: application, recall, and (sometimes) analysis.
interpersonal and intrapersonal skills almost never showed up.
Most teachers presented students with complex content, but the tasks students were asked to perform were simple recall and application
Many teachers assigned tasks with complex instructions and procedures, but little higher-level thinking was required of students
In a 10th-grade honors humanities class, for example, students were asked to invent questions to guide their study of Western imperialism in China (having just finished a unit on the colonization of Africa). Guided by the teacher, students brainstormed possible questions, decided which were most important, and edited questions until the questions were intellectually stimulating and open-ended.
It was the teacher, not the subject. This level of intellectual and affective demand cropped up in different subjects, grades, and classes with different student achievement levels. The variable was the teacher.
These outliers managed to weave rigorous instruction of content across the cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal domains, putting to rest the notion that content- and skill-focused instruction precludes higher-order thinking – and vice-versa.
These exceptional instructors created “a harmonious environment,” say the researchers, “demonstrating an understanding that doing so is a prerequisite to academic learning.”
Teachers adapted their teaching to the moment.
to teach a deep and broad range of skills while also addressing disciplinary knowledge – requires intelligence and years of practice.”
Instruction was tied to complex assessments. Often designed by the teachers themselves, these checks for understanding stood in contrast to the test-prep oriented assessments in other classrooms.
Teachers built strong relationships with students.
First, Nehring, Charner-Laird, and Szczesiul suggest that schools need complex, high-level assessments to make all classrooms accountable for teaching the full range of adult skills. Second, “excellence requires highly skilled teachers with finely tuned radar and improvisational ability.” And third, “good teaching is about caring relationships, a parental affection that gives and receives, that honors the fundamentally human nature of our work as educators.
Thomas Guskey (University of Kentucky) stresses the importance of professional development starting with clear outcomes.
“In education, getting better generally means having a more positive influence on the learning of our students and helping more students learn well,” says Guskey. “Knowing our destination provides the basis for determining the effectiveness of our efforts.”
What student learning outcomes do we aim to accomplish?
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->What evidence will tell us if we met the goal? (ideally more than one source of data)
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->What unintended consequences might occur, positive or negative?
“Looking beyond the intended goals to the broader array of possible outcomes is an important aspect of evaluation and vital to judging effectiveness,”
What sparks robust discussions in PLCs is looking at variations in students’ responses to individual items on common assessments and writing prompts.
“The primary purpose of this collaborative data analysis,” says Guskey, “is to guide these teachers’ professional learning experiences so they can improve the quality of their instruction and help all students learn well.”
One additional cautionary note: PLCs tend to jump into “debating new ideas, techniques, innovations, programs, and instructional issues,” says Guskey. “While these are important issues, we must remember that they are means to an important end that must be determined first. Our journey always begins by deciding our destination… Ninety percent of essential questions in any evaluation are addressed in the planning process, before the journey begins.”
“When a teacher models and provides direct instruction at the start of a lesson, it rarely enables students to explore mathematical tasks or engage in productive struggle,” says Drew Polly (University of North Carolina/Charlotte) in this article in Teaching Children Mathematics.
researchers have found that if students grapple with a task before the teacher explains and models it (and receive appropriate follow-up), they’re more engaged and learn better.
Polly details the 5E approach, in which students spend most of a lesson exploring mathematical tasks with limited support from the teacher, and some students get individual or small-group support:
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Engage – The class is given a math task or activity.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Explore – Students have time to work on the task with their partner or a small group, with the teacher giving only instructions and circulating, sometimes posing questions to support students’ exploration.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Explain – The class comes together to discuss the problem and how different students solved it. The teacher facilitates the discussion, perhaps choosing a main focus based on what was observed during the work time, and provides direct instruction as needed.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Elaborate/extend – For the rest of the class, the teacher gets students working on activities, math games, and small-group activities that deepen understanding of the concept and zeros in on students who seem confused or off track.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Evaluate – Students solve a final task or participate in a discussion of concepts, allowing the teacher to assess learning and plan for future lessons.
“[T]he size of a person’s vocabulary is one of the strongest predictors of his or her reading comprehension,” say Tanya Wright (Michigan State University/East Lansing) and Gina Cervetti ((University of Michigan/Ann Arbor) in this article in Reading Research Quarterly.
Students who enter school knowing fewer words are likely to continue with relatively small vocabularies and struggle with text comprehension throughout school. Students who start with larger vocabularies, on the other hand, have broader general knowledge, need to spend less time accessing memory of words (which frees up working memory to grasp the meaning of a text), read and enjoy their reading more, and build stronger vocabularies – a reciprocal relationship that tends to widen the achievement gap.
Teaching word meanings almost always improved comprehension of texts containing the words taught.
• Teaching word meanings doesn’t seem to improve comprehension of texts that don’t contain the target words.
• Instruction involving students in some active processing was more effective than dictionary and definition work at improving comprehension of texts containing the words taught. One caveat: researchers don’t know how much active processing is enough.
• Teaching one or two strategies (e.g., context clues or morphology) for solving word meanings doesn’t seem to improve generalized reading comprehension.
Danny Gregory applauds the arguments made for the importance of art and music in schools: they improve motor, spatial, and language skills; they enhance peer collaboration; they strengthen ties to the community; they keep at-risk students in school and improve their chances of ultimately graduating from college; and
students who have four years of art score 91 points higher on the SAT than students who don’t.
In middle school, the majority start to lose their passion for making stuff and instead learn the price of making mistakes.
In short, every child starts out with a natural interest in art, but for most it is slowly drained away until all that’s left is a handful of teens in eyeliner and black clothing whose parents worry they’ll never move out of the basement.”
As of 2015, only 26.2 percent of African-American students have access to art classes.
Gregory has a startling suggestion: take the “art” out of art education and replace it with creativity education. Why? Because creativity is something that almost everyone agrees is vital to success.
Solving problems, using tools, collaborating, expressing our ideas clearly, being entrepreneurial and resourceful – these are the skills that matter in the 21st century, post-corporate labor market. Instead of being defensive about art, instead of talking about culture and self-expression, we have to focus on the power of creativity and the skills required to develop it. A great artist is also a problem solver, a presenter, an entrepreneur, a fabricator, and more.”
We need to make sure that the kids of today (who will need to be the creative problem solvers of tomorrow) realize their creative potential and have the tools to use it.
A total of 21 percent of students said they had been bullied in the following ways: 13 percent made fun of, called names, or insulted; 12 percent subject of rumors; 5 percent pushed, shoved, tripped, or spat on; 4 percent threatened with harm; 5 percent purposefully excluded from activities; 2.5 percent told to do things they didn’t want to do; and 2 percent had their property purposefully destroyed. Girls reported more online harassment (16 percent) than boys (6 percent). These were the locations where students said the bullying occurred:
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->42 percent in hallways or stairwells (similar for boys and girls);
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->34 percent in classrooms (perhaps mainly during entry, transitions, and exit);
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->22 percent in cafeterias;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->19 percent outside on school grounds;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->12 percent online or by text;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->10 percent on school buses;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->9 percent in bathrooms/locker rooms.
hallways and stairwells, taken together, are nearly twice as likely to be the source of the problem as the cafeteria, playground, or buses and bathrooms. Supervision and vigilance in those fluid spaces between classes is likely to benefit vulnerable students disproportionately.”
dance, gesture, and other forms of movement can improve motivation, engagement, and learning.
students in classrooms that integrated movement were “significantly more excited by, engaged in, and focused on the lessons” than they were with conventional teaching methods.
Dancing to memorize information
– Doing a dance skip-counting numbers (5, 10, 15, 20…) to the “Macarena.”
Applying movement to assessments
– To test knowledge of synonyms and antonyms, pairs of students jump straight up and down three times, then choose to land on either their right or left foot; if both land on the same foot, they must come up with synonyms for a word on the board; if they land on opposite feet, they must name antonyms.
– The teacher gives each group of students sets of fraction cards and they take turns moving to another group in search of equivalent fractions, bringing possible matches back to their group to see if they’re correct.
Moving among stations
Forming lines, rows, or other groupings – Each student gets a card with a punctuation mark or a word and students silently arrange themselves to form a complete sentence.
Representing terms or ideas with actions – After reading a book about emotions, students stand and act out furious, satisfied, courageous, and other words.
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