What has this process fostered?

Since establishing and solidifying my goals last November I have had the opportunity to attend several professional development sessions, which helped to reframe my viewpoints on the classroom.  In early February I spent some time in Adaptive Schools training and pulled a few nuggets from the experience; mainly, that it is imperative to build a community of trust.

 

Without a healthy sense of trust in each other, in students, in the teacher, in the process, in the purpose, in general, many of the expectations of my goals would be impossible to achieve.  Student’s need to feel that they can approach me in and outside of class to seek for clarification and understanding.  I need to trust that students will let me know when they are confused, need help, or find materials helpful.  The process needs to be clear and reliable so that it can be trusted on a daily basis.  Trust is what binds the classroom as a unit, as a community, as a family.

 

The other nugget was a system of growth from small to large.  Mainly, students come in many different shapes, sizes, and mindsets and not all will flourish in a whole class setting even if the class itself is relatively small (for example 10 kids).  By building in different varieties of groups and small groups interactions, student will become more comfortable with their peers, and their ideas, which should lead to healthier community discussions and greater overall learner and feedback within the class.  Sometimes the best feedback is given by a peer.

 

Just a few weeks ago I had the good fortune to attend Cultures of Thinking which helped me to further process how groups can benefit the learning environment and improve feedback, but more importantly it provided a series of routines and tools that promote more individual thinking within the classroom and hence foster greater and more diverse analytical thought.  When I think about it, this facilitation of deeper thinking on the students’ part, helps to improve their understanding which leads to deeper questions and better feedback, whether it takes written or verbal form.

 

Ultimately, my journeys during these PDs helped me to further emphasize the importance of building authentic relationships with my kids in the hopes that trust can be truly fostered, and independent thinking can take hold.  I have started to apply some thinking routines, such as peeling the fruit in conjunction with inclusive language and open-ended questions and thus far it has been fairly successful.  I don’t feel I have gotten the chance to implement much of this during this academic year but have some good ideas to put into practice going forward.

 

On a separate note, I don’t feel I was able to spend as much time during this pilot process on developing and digging into my goals or ideas, as the day to day of school took over after the winter break.  The big challenge is how to find balance in an environment that pulls at you from every direction.

Revised Goals (Student Surveys Considered)

When I set my initial goals, they were based upon personal interest and reflection.  When my initial goals were compared with student feedback (One of my 12th grade classes) it became clear that my ability to confer with students in more of a strength while my ability to clarify is a point for improvement.  Most notably student find that my comments on their assignments are not as helpful as they would like and don’t indicate a clear path for improvement.  Part of this may be due to my shift toward more regular and substantial one on one conferencing.

 

When I compare my initial goals to the survey and what the results imply, I realize that the goals themselves are sound, but the direction behind them will need to shift a little.  In order for me to provide more effective and instructive written feedback I need to consider the limitations of feedback allowed by IB on official assessments and in what areas I can provide more substantive suggestions and critique which will facilitate a greater sense of clarity in student’s minds and provide them the tools they feel necessary to personally improve.  In line with this reasoning, the ability to create more effective lines of communication beyond conferencing and verbal interaction will help to build this sense of support and constructive feedback.

 

Moving forward, some possible strategies/solutions may include:

  • Exit slips
  • Anonymous suggestion boxes
  • More finite and clear goals on individual assessments that make feedback more direct and actionable
  • Incorporation of individualized communication in OneNote/DX/Emails
  • Moderated forums on Blogs or DX that focus on pertinent topics current in the class allowing better understanding of what is causing the most confusion or distress.
  • Monthly forum discussions to highlight areas of expertise and areas in need of growth or improvement.
  • Others to be determined…?

 

 

At this time the Goals remain as stated:

Confer: (Area of Strength)

  • Work to establish authentic lines of communication with students beyond verbal interactions.

Clarify: (Area of Weakness)

  • To provide increasingly more effective feedback, based upon individual student needs.

These two goals will work symbiotically to improve both areas and hopefully build student confidence and academic growth.

Initial Goals

After ample personal reflection and prioritization of feedback and interests I am have come up with two goals to start the process.  After the upcoming student surveys I will reexamine these goals and adjust accordingly.  It is my hope that I can start setting pathways to improvement towards the end of the month.  If you have any questions or feedback, please comment below.

Confer:

Work to establish authentic lines of communication with students beyond verbal interactions.

Clarify:

To provide increasingly more effective feedback, based upon individual student needs.

Evaluating, Reflecting, and Selecting Goals

As I reflect on the different standards within the Tripod 7C framework, I am drawn to the areas of Confer and Clarify for both their ability to address some of my weaknesses and fine tune some of my strengths.  At the moment I have narrowed the areas of focus to those attached below (cut and pasted directly from the Tripod site).  I will continue to draft and refine my goals as their relevance to my professional growth becomes more lucid in my my mind, but my hope is that by the end of the week I will have some rough goals to help me to focus my educational journey this year.  Any thoughts you may have on these areas or what you think may be my strengths or weaknesses will be duly considered as I refine these goals.  Have a great day!

Goal Setting (Pilot)

Welcome!

Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.

  • Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
    • Self assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards  (Tripod 7C’s)
    • Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
    • Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
  • Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
  • Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
  • Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
  • You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.

If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!