Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2009

Do schools need to change?  This fundamental question causes great concern for many a traditionalist.  Tapscott uses the cryogenic analogy well.  If someone from 1900 were frozen in time and awakened today the incredible improvements in technological advancements in human kind, medicine, transportation etc.  would astonish them.  They may even be so shocked that health of the person would be at risk.  UNTIL….you took them to a school where they would say….ahhhh….this looks familiar and the heart palpatations would cease.

(work in progress)

Read Full Post »

At school last month we completed a “Fun Index.”  The idea stemmed from a Blog entry at Education Innovation.  The results, questions and data are below.  There were 25 respondants of 25 faculty.Are We Fun? Staff Members were polled for this survey.                        
                                                   
4.32 1 Are new teachers and staff made to feel welcome?                                
3.68 2 School meetings are positive and light?                                    
3.44 3 Does your school have fun activities at least once a month?                              
4.40 4 Is it common to hear teachers and staff laughing at school?                              
4.20 5 Can you be yourself at school?                                      
3.20 6 Does your school have a lot of celebrations or special events?                              
4.28 7 When brainstorming ideas, do teachers like to have fun?                              
4.72 8 Is your Principal usually optimistic and smiling?                                  
4.04 9 Would your students say you are fun to be with in class?                              
4.72 10 Do you have friends at school that make you laugh?                                
4.48 11 Do you, the teachers and staff have a good time together at school?                            
1 5 5 5 4 5 3 4 5 5 3 4 4 3 4 5 5 5 4 5 4 4 3 5 5 4
2 3 2 2 2 4 2 4 3 3 5 4 5 3 3 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
3 3 2 2 3 4 3 4 2 2 3 5 5 2 3 2 5 5 3 4 4 3 4 4 4 5
4 4 4 4 4 5 4 5 5 5 3 4 5 4 3 5 5 4 5 5 5 4 4 4 5 5
5 3 4 4 4 4 5 4 5 5 4 4 5 4 3 5 3 5 5 4 5 4 3 4 4 5
6 3 2 2 3 3 2 3 2 3 2 5 5 3 3 3 4 4 4 3 3 3 5 3 3 4
7 4 5 5 5 3 5 4 4 3 3 5 5 4 3 5 5 5 4 4 5 4 4 4 4 5
8 4 4 5 5 4 5 5 4 4 5 4 5 5 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
9 5 4 5 4 4 4 4 3 5 4 4 3 4 3 3 5 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 5 4
10 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 5 5 3 5 5 5 4 5 4 5 5 5 5 4 4 5 5 5
11 5 4 5 4 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 5 4 3 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 5 4
1 never                                              
2 hardly                                              
3 neutral                                              
4 usually                                              
5 Almost always                                            
Our Overall Fun index=45.48                                      

Read Full Post »

The use of protocols in Professional Learning Community meetings is essential to the continued growth and evolution of  a school.  Gains in student achievement depend on the learning and learning processes of the adults in a building.  If we expect our teachers to differentiate for students we, as instructional leaders, had better differentiate for their learning styles.  I believe that the appropriate use of protocols in PLC meetings do many things but most importantly they:

  1. reduce the threat of exposing yourself to the group and allow you to become vulnerable with colleagues
  2. increase risk taking behaviour and sharing through structured and formal practises
  3. allow for shared leadership as the facilitator is not the “Sage on the Stage” but simply the choreographer (there is nothing simple about it of course)
  4. engage all learners
  5. can be adapted by participants to be used with students of all ages

I refer to brainstorming  in light of a recent Blog post on Education Innovation that I read weekly.  The spoof “demotivation”  poster (that I was sent years ago-prior to PLCs in our setting) below depicts the concepts behind ineffective PLC time the best I think.  I am reminded of meetings my significant other would describe in one of her career settings.  She laughs every time she views this poster and states, “It’s so true!”  If we know this as educators and we know what makes the difference in PLCs why do we still revert back to old, less effective habits? 

The Power of Meetings

None of us is as dumb as all of us.

Recently I engaged a staff of Early Years and Primary teachers from 4 neighbourhood schools in the Interview Design and Dialogue Protocol to elicit as many consistent and common ideas around a battery of questions about the current state of balanced literacy in schools  (I adapted a protocol form from Jon Saphier of Research for Better Teaching).   More importantly was the form in which this process was done.  There was chart paper, stickies and markers but this was secondary to the fact gathering phase which was done far more precisely and structured than traditional “brainstorming.”  Using the design process we essentially eliminated any risk by engaging in one on one dialogue to start.   The only stuff that made it to the chart paper (dialogue: the second to last phase) had been consistently communicated across the length of the interview phase. 

Teachers in 4 groups of 8 heard 4 responses plus their own to the one question they asked.  They then met in “like question groups” to discuss and chart the most common and consistent responses to the questions.  An example of one question was: “What evidence of a balanced literacy approach exists in a classroom in our District?”  8 individuals asked this question 4 times and recorded the responses.  8 response pages with responses from 32 individuals became one side of a piece of chart paper.  Talk about precision.  Essential to the protocol was that once the question was asked all you were “allowed” to do was record.  This was an interview and not a conversation.  

I immediately thought of the above poster when I read the title (Dumber Together) off the Education Innovation RSS feed on my Netvibes page.   While the intent of its inclusion is humour it has been true for me in limited instances.  My goal as an instructional leader is to make this “demotivation poster” irrelevant.   A reader @Education Innovation comments that the information presented is unsourced.  Maybe . . . but haven’t we all been there before?  If the answer is yes than why, when we take over the reigns, do we seem to perpetuate this form of Professional Learning.  Brainstorming sessions can be effective.  There must be a sound protocol to make them work for everyone however.  I continue to work through the many protocols presented by the National School Reform Faculty in an effort to engage with adults in meaningful and unthreatening ways.  As I stated earlier, gains in student achievement depend on the learning and learning processes of the adults in a building.  I am dedicated to the use of protocols to make sure that each of us is as smart as all of us.

InterviewDesign from Jon Saphier at Research to Better Teaching

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: