Just recently, I was the on the other end of the classroom learning environment. As a student, I was expected to come prepared, listen, take notes, and assimilate the content. The subject was important and vital to the next steps in my learning trajectory. As I am nearing my end goal in education, I wanted this experience to be meaningful. It was not.
Week after week, the lectures continued with power point after power point. It was, and still is, a blur. What they wanted me to know and be able to do is still unknown to me. I thrive on being engaged in the learning process. I will read closely, talk to colleagues, and process through note taking, and reflect what I do, and can do better. I will forever be a leader who learns.
Throughout the class, I continued to be frustrated, mad, and frankly didn’t do my best work week after week. As a near straight A student, to receive a B for my coursework was embarrassing. I know better, and take full responsibility. What I do matters, as John Hattie would say, and I didn’t do much of anything during these weeks of instruction. I also wondered how many students in our classrooms were having the same experiences.
I just recently completed Common Formative Assessments 2.0 by Larry Ainsworth. It reminded me of what a unit of instruction could look like and, even more important, feel like. When educators collaboratively implement the recommended design steps to “intentionally align standards, instruction, and assessment” one of the by-products is students demonstrating ownership of their own learning. It is no longer mystery learning to them, but meaningful experiences to support students reaching their outcome goals.
Another important outcome of this process is the teacher’s experience. No longer is their planning and preparation a solitary task but an on-going collaborative conversation they have with like colleagues. Together teachers become the scholars as they refine their student focused learning practices. This experience allows them to collectively “make more accurate inferences about student understanding so they can adjust instruction to improve student learning” (back cover).
My next class starts in a few weeks. As a student, I WILL put forth better effort to be a better learner. As a building leader, I will also be mindful of creating a positive school culture where a deep understanding of this process is continually revisited. Our outcome goal will be to provide an equitable learning environment where ALL of our students have the opportunity to be engaged in their own learning.
Learn more about Ainsworth Common Formative Assessment 2.0 at: http://www.corwin.com/pd/common-formative-assessment-2.0.html