5 5 It’s the classroom Variability at the classroom level is up to 4 times greater than at school level It’s not class size It’s not the between-class grouping strategy It’s not the within-class grouping strategy It’s the teacher
6 6 Teacher quality: A labour force issue with 2 solutions Replace existing teachers with better ones? –No evidence that more pay brings in better teachers –No evidence that there are better teachers out there deterred by certification requirements Improve the effectiveness of existing teachers –The “love the one you’re with” strategy –It can be done –We know how to do it, but at scale? Quickly? Sustainably?
8 8 Five key strategies… Clarifying and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success Engineering effective classroom discussions that elicit evidence of learning Providing feedback that moves learners forward Activating students as learning resources for each other Activating students as the owners of their own learning
9 9 …and one big idea Use evidence about learning to adapt teaching to meet student needs
11 Why research hasn’t changed teaching The nature of expertise in teaching Aristotle’s main intellectual virtues –Episteme: knowledge of universal truths –Techne: ability to make things –Phronesis: practical wisdom What works is not the right question –Everything works somewhere –Nothing works everywhere –What’s interesting is “under what conditions” does this work? Teaching is mainly a matter of phronesis, not episteme
After Nonaka & Tageuchi, 1995 Teacher knowledge
13 How do you grow expertise? NOT by telling people what to do. Expertise grows over time, with experience and lots of opportunities to think about those experiences But experience alone is not enough—if it were, then the most experienced teachers would be the best teachers—we know that’s not true (Hanushek, 2005; Day et al., 2006) People need to reflect on their experiences in systematic ways that build their accessible knowledge base, learn from mistakes, etc. (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 1999)
14 That’s what TLCs are for: They grow expertise by providing a regular space, time, and structure for that kind of systematic reflecting on practice They facilitate sharing of untapped expertise residing in individual teachers They build the collective knowledge base in a school TLCs contradict teacher isolation, a major cause of teacher turnover TLCs reprofessionalize teaching by valuing teacher expertise TLCs deprivatize teaching so that teachers’ strengths and struggles become known TLCs offer a steady source of support for struggling teachers
15 Teacher learning takes time To put new knowledge to work, to make it meaningful and accessible when you need it, requires practice. A teacher doesn’t come at this as a blank slate. –Not only do teachers have their current habits and ways of teaching—they’ve lived inside the old culture of classrooms all their lives: every teacher started out as a student! –New knowledge doesn’t just have to get learned and practiced, it has to go up against long-established, familiar, comfortable ways of doing things that may not be as effective, but fit within everyone’s expectations of how a classroom should work. It takes time and practice to undo old habits and become graceful at new ones. Thus… – TLCs must be sustained over time
16 How to set up a TLC Plan for two years Identify 8 to 10 interested colleagues –Should have similar assignments (e.g. early years, math/sci) Secure institutional support for: –Monthly meetings (2 hrs each, inside or outside school time) –Time between meetings (2 hrs per month in school time) Collaborative planning Peer observation –Any necessary waivers from school policies
17 A structure for TLC meetings Every monthly TLC meeting should follows the same structure and sequence of activities Activity 1: Introduction & Housekeeping (5 mins) Activity 2: How’s It Going (50 minutes) Activity 3: New Learning about AfL (50 minutes) Activity 4: Personal Action Planning (10 minutes) Activity 5: Summary of Learning (5 minutes)
18 Activities 1-2 & 4-5 (‘Bookends’) The process for these activities is the same at each TLC meeting. The content of these activities changes as assessment for learning is established and integrated into teachers’ daily routines. These activities are critical to teachers actually changing their practice to embrace assessment for learning.
19 Introduction & housekeeping Time for participants to get their minds to the meeting The TLC leader presents the learning intentions for the meeting
20 How’s It Going? Every teacher gives a brief, informal report on his or her latest AfL efforts, while colleagues listen and respond appropriately, following a structured protocol.
21 What does this mean for TLCs? Routines need to be established, expectations shared, and structure maintained. Similar expectations regarding preparation and engagement. –Come to the meeting knowing you will be sharing your own AfL experiences. –Be prepared to offer constructive, thoughtfully conceived feedback to colleagues. –Be prepared to challenge ideas that may be good classroom practice but are not necessarily tightly related to formative assessment.
22 Supporting Each Other Questions to guide the routine: Thinking about what you’ve tried If you tried a technique from your action plan: –How did it go? –Was it successful or unsuccessful? Why? If there is a technique that you planned to try, but have not: –Why haven’t you tried it yet? –What modifications to the technique might make it more appealing for you to try out? –What support would you need in order to try out this technique?
23 Supporting Each Other Questions to guide the routine: Thinking about what’s working If you tried a technique from your action plan: –How did it go? –Was it successful or unsuccessful? Why? If there is a technique that you planned to try, but have not: –Why haven’t you tried it yet? –What modifications to the technique might make it more appealing for you to try out? –What support would you need in order to try out this technique?
24 Supporting Each Other Questions to guide the routine: Thinking about difficulties If you or a colleague tried a technique, and it didn’t seem to work, OR If you or a colleague have been reluctant to try a particular technique: –What do you think is getting in the way? –What help do you need to make this work? –How could this technique be modified to work for you?
25 How does “How’s It Going?” improve teaching and learning? Repetition –Supportive structure for getting better together –While the structure is constant, the “case studies” will vary-- meetings not tedious or stale –Time to problem solve Accountability Keeps the Focus
26 New learning about AfL Magazine/journal articles Book study Official publications Personal experiences Video extracts
27 Personal Action Planning Each teacher updates his or her personal Action Plan and arranges to get needed support from colleagues –Make ideas more concrete –Provide a reference for future work –Create accountability for trying new things –Focus attention on a couple of areas –Provide a reminder to give up some things
28 Summary of Learning The group checks to see where they are with regard to the learning intentions for the meeting –If yes, great! –If no, plan for addressing any gaps
29 The TLC leader’s role To ensure the TLC meets regularly To ensure all needed materials are at meetings To ensure that each meeting is focused on AfL To create and maintain a productive and non-judgmental tone during meetings To ensure that every participant shares with regard to their implementation of AfL To encourage teachers to provide their colleagues with constructive and thoughtful feedback To encourage teachers to think about and discuss the implementation of new AfL learning and skills To ensure that every teacher has an action plan to guide their next steps But not to be the AfL “expert”
30 Peer observation Run to the agenda of the observee, not the observer Observee specifies focus of observation Observee specifies what counts as evidence –e.g., teacher wants to increase wait-time –provides observer with a stop-watch to log wait-times
31 Summary Raising achievement is important Raising achievement requires improving teacher quality Improving teacher quality requires teacher professional development To be effective, teacher professional development must address –What teachers do in the classroom –How teachers change what they do in the classroom AfL + TLCs –A point of (uniquely?) high leverage –A “Trojan Horse” into wider issues of pedagogy, psychology, and curriculum