Sunday, July 26, 2020

What I Use To Do, But Now I Know Better

An Educator FORMER FAVORITE THINKING—What I Use To Do, But Now I Know Better

II can remember attending a leadership conference when I was fresh out of the classroom as an instructional coach. I recall feeling so grateful to be a member of the audience to listen and learn from experienced professionals in education. Being assigned to this new role was thrilling for me. I knew had a lot to learn about what supporting teachers in the classroom truly looked like. I was confident that the conference speaker’s insights would support my new role.

The keynote speaker was an author I knew well. I had their latest book in hand with my typical notes and highlights written all over the text. I leaned in, glossy-eyed, and listened in awe to their current research findings and the recommendations conference participants should consider doing differently, more of, or change altogether to support equitable outcomes for each of our students. I was excited and committed to utilizing and sharing their findings with teachers.

Years later I found this same author’s book now as a second edition on the top of my reading pile. It was published in 2018 and only just a few years old. Their first edition was a treasure and well-used as a tool to guide so many important conversations along my career pathway. I was looking forward to revising a former favorite and see what new insights had been added. I needed some fresh thinking to collaboratively lead a school headed into the fall of 2020 considering the COVID19 requirements and restrictions. 

Something significant happened as I turned the pages of this second edition of a former favorite go-to resource. I found it increasingly difficult to read. I found myself skimming through and noticing the names of the researchers and the dates of their findings. The majority of the reference dates were ten years old or older. To be fair many of the components this authored originally shared about teaching and learning current research still validates. Some of these powerful evidence-based strategies for teachers that were revisited included:

  • Sharing, posting, and referring to learning targets/objectives with students.
  • Checking for understanding and giving specific feedback to students.
  • Adjusting instruction including providing interventions for students.

Although I did notice some key instructional components missing Including when was the author going to...

  • Discuss the importance of addressing our student’s social and emotional health before we begin instruction? 
  • Talk about the value of creating a school culture where students feel included and valued for their strengths? 
  • Bring up on-going teacher collaboration to purposefully plan for student-driven learning experiences?

It was hard to put down an old favorite knowing what I use to do, but now I know better.

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