Tag Archives: Evaluation

Leading Change at Manawa Tapu

5 Nov

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Pope Francis said recently we are not in an era of change, but in a change of era.

Have we done the following in leading change?

Start by building a collaborative culture.  Collaborative and shared leadership that is transparent to all staff, students and the community provides a powerful conduit for change.

Strategic planning is a team sport.  Leading change requires a collaborative effort.  We (leaders, teachers, students and community) need to be a committed to a common purpose.

Manawa Tapu is a complex environment so it is important to fully engage all the stakeholders especially teachers and students, but also parents, whanau, community and business interests.  It is important to hear a range of perspectives around change.

A cohesive plan.  Strategic planning is the systematic process of envisioning a desired future, translating this vision into broadly defined goals and determining a sequence of steps to achieve these.  Without a plan there will be confusion and false starts – attachment

There is no easy answer and no short cuts. Others cannot do this planning for us.  We have to walk the path to own the resulting plan. This needs to be a structured and thorough process, allocated the time and resources to ensure it will be successful.

That said, we do not have to do this on our own.  Have we tapped into the knowledge and experiences of our group? It is always useful to bounce ideas off others. Connect and converse to tap into the “wisdom of the crowd”.

It is important to incorporate expert mentoring and support.  Have you engaged with your “critical friend” – someone to look over your shoulder, to challenge your assumptions and to provide both expert knowledge and different perspectives to enrich conversations and decisions.

Only add something more useful – and always try to take something away! Teachers are already overloaded so we need to plan to add value by introducing interventions that not only improve their effectiveness in the classroom but add efficiencies and reduce workload.

Have we monitored our progress and evaluate the impact of our interventions and broader plan! We need to know how these strategies are bedding in and if these will improve student learning.

Have we ticked all of these?

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Learning Objectives

5 Jun

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At their core, learning objectives should be three things: Action-focused, learner-focused and consider of existing learner knowledge base. You should be able to clearly specify which learning objectives are informational only, and which require a change to overall behavior. By categorizing objectives accordingly, you can better map how to reach that objective based on the resources available to you and your learners. Past that point, it’s up to you to drill down on learning strategy, using these five tips.

  1. Assess Prerequisite Knowledge. Don’t plunge blindly forward without knowing more about your learner. By offering a pre-test or survey, you can get a better handle on what your learners know and can map based on both objective and current knowledge base to avoid bored learners.
  2. Write Learning Objectives. Use actionable words to describe just what you want out of your program or curriculum. Don’t forget to include supporting objectives, or steps that need to take place in order for learners to reach the goal or objective.
  3. Keep it Concise. While it’s tempting to stuff your curriculum full of content.  it can be a case of “too much of a good thing.” Whenever possible, keep your mapping and your content concise by always focusing on the most important tenants of content. By simplifying the content, the way to your learning objectives is less muddled by “noise.”
  4. Utilize Knowledge Assessment Tools. Ask any seasoned road-tripper: The only thing worse than going the wrong way is going the wrong way and refusing to turn around. By using knowledge checks and assessment tools throughout the process, you can see what’s working – and perhaps more importantly, what’s not. Knowledge checks ensure your learners are “getting it” and are on their way to reaching learning goals.
  5. Evaluate Performance. So, did you reach your final destination? Performance evaluations allow you to assess whether or not the material gave you the results you wanted, as mapped in your learning objectives. Asking learners directly is always an effective course of action, but you can also go for surveys, post-program assessments and even webinars to gather intelligent data and ensure you were on the right track.

Mapping helps you stay on track and avoid any unnecessary detours on your journey to reaching objectives.

The SAMR Model again

14 May

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In most ways, teachers that use technology in the classroom are not much different than those that don’t.

All teachers assesses, evaluate and then revises planned instruction based on data from those assessments.

They manage their classroom in a way that works for them, create a positive learning environment, and collaborate with a variety of stakeholders to make sure every humanly possible attempt is made to meet all students need.

They care about learning more than tools, people more than curriculum, and questions more than answers.

But using technology in the classroom–and using it effectively–might require some slight adjustments on the part of the teacher to sustain the effort, creative problem-solving, and innovation required to actually improve learning through the use of technology. This occurs at the belief level–what teachers believe about technology, education, and their own abilities to manage technology.

Looking at the characteristics of teachers that effectively use technology in the classroom can be useful to create a growth mind-set–one that believes in purpose, adaptation, change, and meaningful planning. If you spend your time planning at the upper limits of the SAMR model, it may simply work as a quick reminder of how edtech can work–and work well at the teacher-human-belief level.

Evaluation 2017: Part One

27 Nov

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Sometimes as we reflect on the end of year I get the feeling of wanting to jump out of a moving car. Sometimes you have to be outside the journey to reflect on it. I have been reflecting on a host of issues as we evaluate annual goals and head towards 2018.

Bridge the Gap
Our HOF Inquiry taught us a great deal around this. It’s time to bridge this gap. It’s so easy for those who “want change” to keep pursuing a change agenda without having an understanding of what this feels like in the classroom. The next, new thing is just too alluring for some who do not take the time to understand current realities and demands on teachers. I am a firm advocate for change, but I also believe that major change needs to be managed, supported, and phrased appropriately. The pace at which change is adopted in schools and the potential for groupthink around change management that requires greater procedural mindfulness should become a significant management focus in schools.

Set Clear Personal Guidelines around Our Technology Use
I generally find that technology saves me a lot of time at work. Many issues that used to require meetings can be dealt with through an efficient email. But as a recent BBC report has found, we lack discipline when we use email and tend to use it selfishly: “People dump tasks into each other’s inboxes without thinking about whether they are being considerate.”   It is all about our outlook and our self-discipline … it’s not about the technology.

Demand That Meetings Have a Purpose and Are Run Efficiently
We have all been invited to meetings with no clear purpose, agenda, outcome or value. Meetings should be carefully planned, tightly run, and participants should not only understand the purpose and outcome, they should participate. Scheduled meetings should be cancelled if the agenda is not pressing.

School Leaders Must Take Responsibility For Managing the Pace

Mindfulness needs to start and be modelled from the top. In their book, The Mindful Leader, Brown and Olson make the point that reflective practice is something that many leaders are simply not good at: “Although many of us are charged with leading learning organizations, and learning theory describes the importance of reflection for consolidation and scaffolding the next level of insights, in education we tend not to create pauses for thinking and feeling in our learning and leading, or do so only superficially.”

We need to remind ourselves and our students that being healthy and happy is the key to learning effectively. We need to breathe. We need to stop doing the things we have always done because we have always done them. We need to grade less. We need to collaborate more. We need to scrap excessive content and engage in stimulating, creative learning that places us in the zone, in our element. We need to alter the conception of success as someone who spends all day in the office to the individual who works smartly and leaves the office or classroom with enough time to do something that sustains a personal passion. We need to breathe. We have choices.

I have been thinking a great deal about this quote:

“If you get the culture right in the school … then everything grows and takes care of itself.”

Is it Relevant?

13 Jan

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At the end of the year I like to evaluate my teaching which as a member of the SLT is becoming rarer. These are some great questions to ask. As part of our Faculty review processes these are great discussion starters.

1.) Who is doing a majority of the talking in your classroom?

It’s the person who is doing the majority of the talking that tends to do the most learning, so what is the teacher/student talking ratio in your classroom? If you find yourself always talking more than your students, try and figure out some ways to empower your students so they are more involved in the learning.
2). How often are you mixing up and changing the learning landscape in your classroom?

So there’s this misconception that learning must take place within the four walls of a classroom. In spite of popular belief, the magic barrier between a classroom and the outside world doesn’t work like a light switch where learning can occur and can’t occur. Learning is happening all around and should be happening all around us; there are no limits or barriers to where and when learning can occur. Take the authenticity of your classroom to the next level by mixing up the learning landscape and allowing kids to learn in a more natural state.

3). Who is deciding what is relevant and important in your classroom?

How often do we teach what we want as teachers or because we have sensational resources. What you think is important and relevant may not align perfectly with what your students think is important and relevant. If we the teachers are constantly telling students what to learn and how to learn it, then we are leaving out the most important parts of the education process, student voice and student choice. Embrace a learning culture where student opinions and student interests are valued and encouraged and you will see student engagement and student passion skyrocket.

Student Voice

30 Jun

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For many years I have developed and warmed to the idea of student voice. I must admit I have not always been sold on it. My sister went to a job interview where students not only sat on the appointments committee but asked real questions. At the same school students go to every faculty meeting.This is very innovative.

We all evaluate our teaching and have student voice. Last year a student wrote this to me in her evaluation: Hey Mr Murray I like your class and you entertain us and we learn stuff but you know when you give us those surveys about your teaching I notice nothing in your teaching really changes #justsaying.”

This was definitely a reality check.  As a school we are now regularly seeking avenues for student voice and increasing teachers’ capacity to learn from students. The aim is to grow students’ responsibility for their learning and for teachers to gain new insights that help refine teaching programmes, pedagogy, and assessments, and inform future learning. This is part of our goal to be collaborative and innovative.

How do you use student voice? And once you have the data do you use it?

Fear and Pain

27 Apr

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Crazy as it may seem, this week I had time to reflect on two issues. Fear and pain motivate you to stop, run, avoid, or stubbornly dig in. They don’t move you forward. As a leader this is important to consider.

Fear and pain may ignite a passion to change. No doubt the All Blacks had a great deal of this going into the 2011 RWC. Manchester United had a great deal of pain after being beaten on the last day of the season by their City rivals for the EPL title. The problem, fear and pain only works for the short-term. It creates a huddling effect but doesn’t create a future. These sports teams could tell you that.

Fear and pain are good if they drive you towards two greater things. Courage and joy is the point I have found. What I’m learning then is:

  1. Fear comes with us when we move forward, accept it.
  2. Faith answers but doesn’t eliminate fear. I’m learning to trust others. Empower others I suppose.
  3. Conversations change me. I’m fortunate to have conversations with some of clever kind people; their stories, experiences, and wisdom inspire me.
  4. Sharing my inner-most thoughts took time. However, the more I do the easier it gets.
  5. My journey makes some uncomfortable. Because it does.
  6. I can’t please everybody because decisions based on other people’s values and opinions are not positive.
  7. Exploring and understanding others opens the door for me to explore, understand and communicate with myself.
  8. Doing what’s best for others isn’t people pleasing as long as it aligns with my values.

What have you learned about yourself this year that has made a change?

Professional Reading

Leading inquiry at a teacher level: It’s all about mentorship by Mike Fowler

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