Showing posts from July, 2021

Using data-driven approaches at school? Avoid these mistakes

The idea: Here are 3 common mistakes to avoid when adopting data-driven approaches in your schools: #1 Lacking a clear purpose for collecting data, #2 Failing to tackle data aversion/ fearing mindsets in the community, #3 Drawing conclusions without analyzing the reliability of the data  For any School that wants to be innovative and improve quickly, data-informed approaches/ improvement science approaches should be central to their functioning. Read more about adopting an Improvement Science Approach in schools in this book:  Learning to Improve: How Americas Schools Can Get Better At Getting Better .

How can we successfully launch new technology in schools?

The idea: Successfully launching new technology in schools involves four key steps: ‘ Setting up Systems ’ where leaders ensure the vision, culture and systemic supports for the innovation are in place; ‘ Getting the ball rolling ’ where high quality training on the tech is provided to introduce the team to it; ‘ Greasing the wheels ’ where the actions and impact of the early adopters are amplified; ‘ Letting it roll ’ where you consolidate and enable continuous improvement by supporting learning communities. As the horror of the pandemic took over our lives last year, I witnessed a miracle unfold in our schools. Our teachers, students and parents embraced the opportunity before them, leapfrogged over many barriers (inexperience, access, etc.) and emerged a digitally competent community. Before the pandemic hit, I had dreamed this would happen in 3 years. It took 6 months. This had a lot to do with the pandemic, but also a little to do with how we approached the challenge, I believe. H

Assessment for Learning: The Uber Analogy

The Idea: An Uber trip serves as a great analogy to understand Assessing for learning or Formative Assessment: Set Destination (Goals), Track movement (Student progress), Alter path (Teaching approach) if you are not moving towards your destination as planned. Central to learning and improvement is a system for tracking progress and feedback. This Uber Analogy is one of my favourite analogies to use while doing workshops on Assessment and its key role in improving practice. But first, let me clarify what kind of Assessment I am talking about. In Education we talk about two types of Assessment - Summative (of Learning) and Formative (for Learning). As the names suggest - Summative Assessment is typically evaluative, after the learning process and Formative assessments are typically during the learning process, to support learning and improve the process.  Here we are talking about Formative Assessments i.e. Assessment FOR learning. Traditionally Schools have focused mainly on evaluative

Great Teachers: What do they know and do?

  The idea: A simple model that captures the essential capacities that make 'Great Teachers' - knowledge of & care for their STUDENTS; knowledge of and passion for the SUBJECTS they teach; knowledge of TEACHING practices and a desire to learn for life through inquiry, sharing and learning with their communities. I have always loved a good mental model. For 'What makes great teachers' I found it in the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Five Propositions  a couple of years ago. This model is so good that it almost feels like common sense, but it is also profound and serves as a fantastic vision for teachers to aspire to. A quick note on how we arrived here. Until we discovered this, the Danielson Framework for Teaching  helped anchor our vision for teachers. The Danielson Framework is one of the most well-established teaching frameworks and provides educators with a fantastic tool for evaluating good teaching. We still use this tool today to u

Coaching teachers: When is feedback most powerful?

  Coaching Teachers: When is feedback most powerful? The idea : When is systematic feedback most useful for learners in their journey from Novice to Mastery? Feedback on practice is most useful for learners who are building mastery, not as much for novices and for learners who have achieved mastery. This thinking frame can help you plan a structured coaching/ feedback system more effectively. Let me start by acknowledging the powerful role of feedback in learning ANYTHING. Education literature tells us how good feedback can positively impact learning and I have seen first hand the immense impact of feedback on learning over the last decade - for myself, my students and my colleagues. Yet, I often found myself in situations where well intended, relevant feedback did not feel useful. When I reacted like this, I attributed my feelings to not being open-minded enough. Until I read Deep Learning by Stellan Ohlsson . In the book, I discovered one of the most useful thinking frames for someon