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Recently during an in-class presentation, a student showed a clip from the Tom Hanks film "A League of Their Own". It was the scene where Hanks is frustrated with his female player (all female league) as she cries in response to his instruction/coaching. The source of his frustration is simple, Hanks holds a strong perception of baseball (he believes baseball is rough, tough, and all things macho) and it is evident that his female player did not share these ideas. In disbelief of his player's perception of the game, Hank yells "there's no crying in baseball". The video clip speaks directly to the vital role that perception plays in our everyday interactions. More specifically to educators, the film clip may serve to remind us how perception impacts our classroom.
As educators we are typcially aware of how we feel, but how much do we really know about our student's feelings? What do our students think about our lesson plans, classroom environment, and assessments and how do our perceptions differ? Below is a sample of 6 differences between what we may believe as educators and what our learners may perceive everyday in th classroom.
Teacher Perception: What does this test show about my instructional effectiveness?
Student Perception: I wonder if I can trick the teacher into thinking that I studied and know this material?
Teacherr Perception: How well does this assignment prepare the students for the test?
Student Perception: Why do we have to repeat the same stuff that we did in class at home?
Teacher Perception: Can I effectively individualize instruction?
Student Perception: Is separate truly equal? I don't know if it is fair that different students get different work
4. Scheduled Substitute Teacher
Teacher Perception: I hope I left sufficient activities for the students in order to keep them on track.
Student Perception: Free time! (Las Vegas mentality:What happens here, stays here).
5. Extra Credit Opportunities
Teacher Perception: How might this extra credit assignment reinforce the concepts from our class?
Student Perception: Free points!
6. Assignment Calendar/Syllabus
Teacher Perception: What other information should I add in order to make the information more clear to the students?
Student Perception: Should I keep this? I can just ask the teacher about the due dates or deadlines.
In order to make meaningful changes in our classroom, we first need to become aware of our perceptions as educators and the perceptions of our learners. Understanding the perceptions of others is hard work. I tend to think about the book "Seven Effective Habits" by Covey in that he emphasizes the need to first seek to understand (as a prerequisite to being understood). It's ok if you perceive crying in baseball as a crime. It is better if you seek ways to understand how others may perceive baseball. A single belief can be so limiting. Let's challenge ourselves to learn about perceptions outside of our own. Specifically it is time to think about how our students perceive their learning process and how we can use these perceptions to inform instruction. As a way to help, I will provide a follow-up post that outlines considerations and strategies in exploring student perception.
ASCD Leader to Leader (L2L) News is a monthly e-newsletter for ASCD constituent group leaders that builds capacity to better serve members, provides opportunities to promote and advocate for ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, and engages groups through sharing and learning about best practices. To submit a news item for the L2L newsletter, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Action Items for ASCD Leaders
Policy Points Highlights Funding Sources for Educator Professional Development
Despite shrinking education budgets, there are still opportunities to pursue funding for educator professional development. Check out the latest issue of Policy Points (PDF), which provides links to these resources.
Leaders in Action: News from the ASCD Leader Community
ASCD Leader Voices
Welcome University of Southern California ASCD Student Chapter
ASCD is pleased to announce a new ASCD Student Chapter, started by ASCD emerging leader Eric Bernstein. Please join us in welcoming University of Southern California ASCD Student Chapter to the ASCD community!
2013 ASCD emerging leader Melany Stowe was recently appointed director of communications and community outreach for Danville Public Schools in Virginia.
OYEA winner Bijal Damani is one of 250 educators chosen for the Microsoft Expert Educators Program. She is also a finalist for the 21st Century Learning Teacher of the Year award, and will be sharing her experiences at their global conference next month in Hong Kong.
Throughout November on www.wholechildeducation.org: Supporting Student Success and the Common Core Standards
The Common Core State Standards are not a curriculum. Standards are targets for what students should know and be able to do. Curricula are the instructional plans and strategies that educators use to help their students reach those expectations. Central to a supportive school are teachers, administrators, and other caring adults who take a personal interest in each student and in each student’s success. How are we designing course content, choosing appropriate instructional strategies, developing learning activities, continuously gauging student understanding, adjusting instruction accordingly, and involving parents and families as partners to support our students’ success?
A whole child approach to education is essential to realizing the promise of the standards. Only when students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged will they be able to meet our highest expectations and realize their fullest potential.
Download the Whole Child Podcast for a discussion on supporting student success as schools implement the Common Core State Standards. Guests include Peter DeWitt, an elementary school principal in New York, author, and Education Week blogger; Thomas Hoerr, head of New City School in St. Louis, Mo., author, and ASCD Multiple Intelligences Professional Interest Community facilitator; and Rich McKinney, an assistant principal for a middle school in Knoxville, Tenn., and Common Core coach for the state of Tennessee. Throughout the month, read the Whole Child Blog and tell us what has worked in your school and with your students. E-mail us and share resources, research, and examples.
Something to Talk About
ASCD Leader to Leader (L2L) News is a monthly e-mail newsletter for ASCD constituent group leaders that builds capacity to better serve members, provides opportunities to promote and advocate for ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, and engages groups through sharing and learning about best practices. To submit a news item for the L2L newsletter, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Invitation from ASCD President Becky Berg
ASCD’s 2013–14 Nominations Committee will soon be seeking qualified individuals interested in running for positions on the Board of Directors. Please consider applying for elected office or encouraging others to do so. The application process opens on September 1 and closes November 30. Watch for more information on how to access the application form and find information on the qualifications for candidacy and the time commitment involved (Board members serve a four-year term). If you have any questions, you can contact ASCD Governance Director Becky DeRigge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Multiple Measure Assessments Gain Momentum
Educators at the state and local levels recognize the benefits of implementing multiple measure assessments and the limitations of standardized tests in capturing the nuances of student or staff abilities. ASCD’s June issue of Policy Points highlights the multiple ways in which federal and state accountability systems can and should evaluate students, teachers, and schools. Read the issue to see examples of the types of measures that policymakers should consider for more comprehensive accountability and evaluation systems.
Contexts and Constraints in School Health
Join ASCD and the International School Health Network (ISHN) for a Global School Health Symposium on August 23–25, 2013 prior to the 21st IUHPE Health Promotion Conference. The symposium targets discussion and presentations around aligning the health and education sectors as well as supporting youth in both developed and underdeveloped regions. ASCD’s own Executive Director Dr. Gene Carter will speak at the event, as will Director of Whole Child Programs Sean Slade and Director of Public Policy David Griffith.
Other speakers and panelists include:
· Dr. Benjalug Namfa (Deputy Permanent Secretary, Office of the Basic Education Commission, Ministry of Education, Thailand)
· Professor Albert Lee (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
· Dr. Shu-Ti Chiou (Director-General, Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health, Taiwan)
· Associate Professor Louise Rowling (University of Sydney, Australia)
· Dr. Peter Paulus (University of Leuphana, Germany)
· Professor Didier Jourdain (Blaise Pascal University, France)
· Goof Buijs (Senior Consultant NIGZ and manager of Schools for Health in Europe)
· Bill Potts-Datema (Acting Senior Advisor at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA)
Throughout Summer at wholechildeducation.org: Reflection and Planning
Summer for educators is often a time to look back on the past year—and look forward to the coming one. What worked, what didn’t, and what will you change? Educating the whole child and planning for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement requires us to be “whole educators” who take the time to recharge, reflect, and reinvigorate. Where should we put our effort? What aspects of a whole child approach to education are most critical to us right now?
Download the Whole Child Podcast for a discussion on educators’ need to reflect on the past school year, refresh their passion for teaching, recharge their batteries, and look ahead to next year. Host Kevin Scott, a former history teacher and current director of constituent services at ASCD, is joined by educators, ASCD emerging leader alumni, and ASCD affiliate leaders Peter Badalament from Massachusetts and Jason Flom from Florida.
Whole Child Network School Featured in Minnesota Publication
Excerpt:It's hard to break out of a norm.
For a long time there was a mentality in K–12 schools that teachers were islands who led a group of kids on their own for a school year and then sent them onto the next grade. Le Sueur-Henderson Middle/High School Principal Kevin Enerson said most school districts are learning that teaching a student takes a village. And that collaborative mentality is just one change in process at his school as it progresses through a three-year initiative called Whole Child.
“There's been a lot of growth this year with myself and the Whole Child team,” Enerson said.
The school is wrapping up its first year participating in the prestigious Whole Child Network, an initiative of ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development). The school is one of 10 from the U.S. and Guam chosen to participate in the initiative, which aims to change the focus of education from only academic achievement to child development, health, safety and engagement. Read the full article.
Principals and Professional Development
Since 2009, 33 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation requiring school districts to implement new principal evaluation systems, and many of these systems include student achievement data as a significant component of the evaluations. The most recent issue of ASCD’s Policy Priorities details the ever-evolving role of principals and the push for evaluations and professional development that will help to ensure that principals are strong leaders who promote school-wide success. Read the issue for examples of how states and cities are basing principal evaluations on multiple measures and learn how some states and districts are improving principal preparation and professional development to incorporate more real-world experiences and ongoing support.
Your Summer PD: ASCD Whole Child Virtual Conference Archives
How can schools implement and sustain a whole child approach to education? The 2013 ASCD Whole Child Virtual Conference, entitled “Moving from Implementation to Sustainability to Culture,” was held in early May 2013 and, through archived presentations, offers educators around the globe strategies and learning to support your work. In these presentations, you will
No matter where your school falls on the whole child continuum, be it the early implementation stage or beyond, the Whole Child Virtual Conference provides a forum and tools for school sites and districts that are working toward sustainability and changing school cultures to serve the whole child.
Something to Talk About
· Who Says Book Clubs Are Just for Moms? By ASCD Constituent Services Director Kevin Scott
· ASCD Offers Free Common Core Webinars This Summer— ASCD is offering two new webinars on the Common Core State Standards this summer at no cost. The webinars, each presented by a different education expert, cover a range of topics related to Common Core planning, access, and implementation. Read the full press release.
· ASCD Publishing Launches New Short-Format Books/E-books Imprint—ASCD Arias—ASCD, the publisher of more than 40 education books a year, is launching a short-format imprint with the debut of its first four ASCD Arias™ professional development publications. Read the full press release.
· ASCD Announces Upcoming Conference on Educational Leadership—ASCD is hosting the association’s Conference on Educational Leadership on November 1–3, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nev. The conference promises to guide educators of all levels to add new ideas to their leadership knowledge base, focus on what matters most in leadership, and connect them with global education leaders. Read the full press release.
· ASCD Debuts New Educational Leadership App and Releases Free Digital Issue on Summer Planning—ASCD, the global leader in providing programs, products, and services that empower educators to support the success of each learner, has launched a new app that delivers Educational Leadership (EL) magazine content to iPad®, iPhone®, Kindle Fire®, and Android tablets and smartphones. Read the full press release.
· ASCD Appoints Gregory Smith as Chief Technology Officer—ASCD has appointed Gregory Smith as the association’s new chief technology officer (CTO). In his new role, Smith will lead and direct the association’s technological planning and development. Smith will be ASCD’s first-ever CTO, a position created by the ASCD leadership team to enable the association to expand innovation opportunities with current and emerging technology. Read the full press release.
· Five Free ASCD Resources to Transform Summer Learning for Educators—ASCD is pleased to offer educators of all levels a selection of high-impact, in-depth professional development resources at no cost. Read the full press release.
I recently participated in what might possibly be a one-time experience for an educator, an education conference in Las Vegas. Of course that probably doesn’t hold true for Nevada educators. Solution Tree Publishing sponsored the Leadership Now Conference in Vegas. It was a Quality event with high visibility speakers keynoted the event.
The speakers at the event were Solution Tree authors and each was a leading expert in their area of expertise. They were also all affiliated with the Marzano/DuFour group. This was a big showing of the PLC at Work institute. For the most part I happen to be a believer in most of what they preach, so I was quite happy with the topics presented.
Of course the backbone of most of what was discussed was the idea of collaborative learning communities within individual school districts. I love the idea and I believe in the concept that collaboratively we all benefit more in learning and teaching. I do find the idea of stopping that collaboration at the district level somewhat limiting however. We need global networks of collaboration. We should not stop at the borders of our own school district or just the network of a group of paying participants of some larger group. Collaboration through social media is free and global. We need to explore and use it to our best advantage as educators and as students.
The First keynotes by Robert Marzano and Richard DuFour lasted an hour and a half each. They were lectures with text-ladened slides to keep the audience (learners) on track while laying out the research and philosophy of the grand plan. There was a printed and bound compiled text of the presentations along with worksheets for the learners. I actually weighed it. It was THREE pounds.
The highlight for me was the keynote by Sir Ken Robinson. He did a keynote that covered many aspects of several of his TED Talk videos. Although I heard much of it before, it meant more live, presented in sir Ken’s unique blend of humor, irony and common sense. This was a vast improvement over the last time I saw him at ISTE with a disastrous panel presentation after what seemed like a ten-minute keynote. In contrast to that, Sir Ken’s Solution Tree retrospective presentation was one to remember.
The workshops following the keynotes were again 90-minute lectures with text-ladened slides that corresponded to the three-pound, bound, text workbook. The material covered in the workshops was essential. The research seemed sound. It was all a common sense approach to the complicated problem of education reform. Each workshop was a clear presentation of how we might best approach what we are doing now in education with what we might be doing even better.
I only wish that they applied the same amount of time, research, and development to their methods of teaching and presentation as they applied to their subject material. First rule of PowerPoint: Don’t read from text-ladened slides to the audience, even if it is from a book written by you, the presenter. To do such a presentation differently is not going to be an easy task and it will probably take several iterations of a presentation to eliminate so much text from slides, but it will help the learners or should I say audience. Although there is a certain element of entertainment in education presentations they are designed to inform and teach. That means the seats are filled with learners and not audience members.
The workshop leaders of the workshops that I attended were wonderful, knowledgeable, and experienced educators. Leaders included: Rebecca DuFour, Tammy Heflebower, Timothy Kanold, Anthony Muhammad, Phil Warrick, and Kenneth Williams. The workshops that were most striking and helpful to me however, were the workshops of Anthony Muhammad. He dealt with changing the culture of the school in order to affect any meaningful change in the structure of the school. I found him to be a shinning star in a room full of stars. He was dynamic, engaging, and most of all gave out meaningful ideas to deal with the real changes for education reform with the most “elephant in the room” problems. He later gave a rousing, closing keynote.
The low point for me anyway came when they had the panel discussion at the end of the sessions of the second day. It was not very well attended by the participants of the conference. The panel was made up of the key members of the Marzano group. Of course the lead panel members gave the longest answers. It was the questioning of the panel that struck me to be rather archaic in our world of technology. The audience was asked to write questions on a piece of paper that would be picked up and delivered to the moderator. There was no microphone stand for open questioning. There was no hashtag back channel screen. The moderator was not monitoring an iPad for questions. I guess this was made difficult because there was also no Internet service for the conference, which should be a mainstay of any education conference.
Criticisms aside, I found this to be a very informative conference. I wish it could have been live streamed to the many connected educators who were following the conference hashtag over the three days. I think the Marzano approach to collaboration and addressing the whole system in order to affect change is a sensible and sound approach. I would simply love to see an updated methodology in their approach.
My wife and I had been saving up our rewards points from airlines, hotels, and credit cards in order to celebrate a 24th wedding anniversary in Las Vegas. We finally did it this past week. As a lifelong “Rat Pack” fan I looked forward to the Landmarks, the Legends, the Lights, and the Luxuries of the Las Vegas Strip. Ironically, however, our most enjoyable venture was a helicopter tour and landing in the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
One of the most impressive feats of Las Vegas Casinos, to me at least as an educator, was their ability to engage people in the casinos without regard to time. There were no clocks. There were no windows. There were no skylights. The only bells going off were on the slot machines. There seemed to be a total engagement in the moment. Time was not a limitation. The goal was to get a person’s complete and total involvement. In that environment, it seemed to work. Time is a major component of any form of competition, with the obvious exception to games of chance. The main goal in casinos is to get one’s complete engagement for the longest time possible. Time is on the side of the Casinos.
Of course education is another area where each participant’s total engagement would greatly improve the ability to achieve the stated purpose. We educators however, do not attack our purpose with the same ferocity as Casino owners. We force students to limit their engagement based on time. Clocks and schedules are the central theme of a school day. The clock determines when engagement will begin and when it will end. The school calendar is mapped out a year in advance. Considering a student’s age as a unit of time, it has an enormous impact on where a student will be placed to learn.
In general terms in New York for example, a secondary teacher has four, ten week quarters. Each week has 5 periods of approximately 43 minutes. Depending on the school the periods could be longer or shorter, and depending on the vacations within a quarter the ten weeks could be shorter. That is the time frame around which most educators plan the year.
Back in the day, giving a lecture and using direct instruction for a 43 minute period was doable. That was the way that many students were educated for years. Anyone over 60 certainly identifies with this model. That was the time when the teacher had to deliver the entire structured curriculum in the time allotted. Each year there seemed to be more and more added to the curriculum without adding time to do it. I remember referring to that as the “Spandex curriculum”.
As teaching became more creative, and project based learning began to expand, as well as group work and collaborative learning, and simulations, little could be done with time to accommodate those activities. Some schools tried flexible scheduling, but that never seemed to have caught on as mainstream concept in education. To make things worse today, we now have to add in all of the required high stakes testing schedules. In addition to the tests themselves, many schools require test preparation time. In some cases as much as a whole month of test preparation is required in each subject. Even spandex can’t accommodate these additions.
Classroom teachers are not alone in these time accommodations, administrators have had to make adjustments for their time as well. In order to run a school there are many administrative duties required, all of which take time. The more these administrators have to address dealing with their school community, as well as their community at large, the further they are taken away from education. There is no time to be a mentor, a lead educator, or an educational leader. Many admins, not all, survive by serving the bureaucracy. Even now this is being further complicated with a call for more frequent assessments of teachers. The most dedicated administrators will be hard pressed to find the time to adequately address all of the tasks which will be required.
If we are ever to address reform in education, there are a many changes to consider. There are many readjustments to make. There are many myths to be left behind. In order to change the system, we have to consider changing the culture. Addressing time as an issue in education should definitely be a goal for reform. We should never however, just add time in order to continue to do the same stuff for longer periods of time.
Time has always been a hindrance to innovation in education. We cannot expect to fit innovative 21st Century programs for education into an old model time schedule based on the 19th Century. There is nothing more disturbing than to watch a class full of students looking at the clock, so they can get their books ready to leave at five minutes before the bell. If we approach time differently to give educators a better allotment to engage students with better models of instruction, we may be on our way to positive change.
If we recognize the fact that the administrative hierarchy based on a 19th Century model cannot work within the time constraints given to a 21st Century administrator, then let’s change that model as well. Time in education is an issue to be dealt with aggressively, not passively. We need to control time and not let it control us. Casinos have it right! Controlling time for education is a goal worth pursuing, and on that, I am willing to bet.