Data Does Matter

Keeping the Zones of Proximal Development in mind, data is king! I need to habitually remember this. I feel like I have been out of practice since coming to ISB, and need to make a concerted effort to keep the data in mind when planning for my students. It does not matter what anyone says, the data does not lie. Sets of data need to be used to drive academic programming. So, if I link this back to my previous blog about building resilience through developing competencies, data indicate what students already know- in what areas they already demonstrate competence and resilience, and then, indicates where to go next with them, in terms of further skill development. I think that checklist I thought of developing- I’ll put that on hold, and focus on the common assessment data, because teachers already have an understanding of how to use this data. And, as I implied above, we can also use this data to determine areas of strength and weakness, and in particular, which students require intensive support.

Another reason Data is King, is because, as a little bird told me very recently, when things get hot and uncomfortable among team members, data strongly alleviates the inclination to personalize aspects of difficult planning sessions because the focus is student data and absolutely has nothing to do with the personalities of staff.

 

Professional Goals

Oh my! I do not know if people will want me blogging! Ha, ha, here it goes!

We and our children live in such a dynamic and changeable world. Therefore, we can all expect encounters with life events that will, at most, shake us to our very cores. And, while change can be said to be a positive thing, it can also precipitate the onset chronic stress and anxiety. We never ever want children to live from day to day in fear of coming to school or have anxiety while at school. This would not be okay!

Because I truly believe this, I am all about helping children being comfortable in their own skin, and thereby transforming into resilient adults. What is resilience exactly? Resilience is about being able to stand in the face of adversity. Meaning, when things are so hard that you get knocked on your ass as a result, you know how to stand up on your feet, dust yourself off, and keep moving. That’s resilience! I want my professional goal to reflect and help me strengthen my ability to demonstrate care through building resilience in Kindergarten students.

As I walk through the corridors of any school, I am always very cognizant of children who appear in distress. Naturally, I care and have compassion for children who feel stressed. But, as an educator, if I really care about the well-being of children in schools, I have a responsibility to go beyond offering smiles and hollow platitudes. I have a responsibility not only to, form meaningful relationships, which incidentally, is one important ingredient to building resilience in children; but also, to ensure that they have access to the curriculum in meaningful ways, that will permit them to learn skills and competencies, allowing for resilience. Eventually, we want students to mature into adults who know, if they try and fail, they can try again, or, plug in other skills, allowing them to take completely different paths, if desired.

How does all this relate to my current circumstance as an ISB Learning Support Teacher? It relates because I realize that a competency- based approach to skill development cannot happen in a systematic, thorough manner, unless ones has an understanding of what students can already do, and what they need to learn next. Those Zones of Proximal Development do matter! Presently, at ISB there are no formal diagnostic tools, beyond those pertaining to Early Literacy, that help Teachers readily understand what competencies our new Kindergarten students bring, nor objectively identify on an individual level, what a child needs to thrive in a holistic manner at ISB.

Therefore, one of my personal goals for 2020 is to develop a simple, integrated, skills checklist that can help me and other teachers understand areas of strength and weakness for new ISB Kindergarten students. The information gleaned from the checklist must be meaningful enough to help identify next steps. Helping students acquire new skills using what they already know- is what a competancy- based approach to teaching and learning is all about. I can justify this particular goal by stating that skills mean options, and options strongly promote resilience. My second goal will be ensure that the checklist is ready early enough for its implementation and evaluation this 2020 school year.

Finally, in these ways I am fulfilling a caring mandate, as I continue to commit to monitoring and responding to students’ learning needs.

 

The survey was an interesting process, to be sure! Although I willingly participated in the process, I do not believe the survey can yield particularly valuable information due to the limited understanding of the students surveyed. Students are of an extremely young age, having the inability to even read the survey questions. In addition, most students have a very limited understanding of the English language.

 

Of equal concern, is most students surveyed do not work directly with me, and this definitely would have impacted students’ experience with me as a teacher. In future, it would be more useful to survey students who are served directly by me through the Learning Support Department.

Just a thought!