When we "provide" teachers with information and strategies about good classroom practices, and then leave them to implement those changes, often very little actually shifts. Instead, setting student-centered goals based on new initiatives, curriculum, or strategies (What would students be doing and saying if I was successful with _____? implemented ____ ?), helps teachers make small manageable changes to improve their craft.
After any workshop with teachers, I like to follow-up with coaching in the classroom. The four-tier rubric pictured here is a 2/3 grade example of a teacher team's initial brainstorm about what they think students will be doing and saying in the classroom based on a common goal. Each teacher has a different lesson plan. After the brainstorm, we spend time in classrooms observing 2-4 students each while the teacher delivers their lesson. We keep notes about what we see the students doing and hear the students saying. Then we regroup to share our observations, add to and adjust the rubric if necessary, and brainstorm small changes each teacher can make in their practice immediately to help specific students move up the rubric. The process works at all levels and with groups of various sizes. The goals can be short or long-term, and often overlap or combine with classroom management or student academic behavior goals.
This is a long-term coaching model that can be led by a facilitator at first, and then gradually released to the teacher team independently. It is simple and powerful. It makes a difference in how we impact change. It creates an open culture of practice, and most importantly, it focuses first on students.
© Erin Croley, Verge Learning
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