3 Approaches To Uncovering Learning Loss And Learning Gains … TO WHAT END?

Cross Posted from Learning Sets

From sardonic opinions to marketing tactics, system leaders have been deluged with a torrent of commentary and predictions about learning loss. The leadership challenge right now is to sort out the obvious reality of losses that have occurred because of the pandemic from nebulous abstractions of loss. It is tempting to slide back into content coverage and testing to determine how our learners have fared which will likely result in more rigidity in the four program structures that are the nest for teaching and learning:  schedules, learning spaces, learning groupings, and personnel configurations.

This is a “right now” leadership moment to articulate and own the approach for your system over the next few years. In effect, we are asking you to call it out directly, transparently for all your school community members to see so that they understand the heavy lift that requires regardless of what approach you choose.

Approach 1- RECOVER. Over the course of a few years we can recover by focusing on coverage of established curriculum with limited revisions to content but more deliberate incorporation of virtual learning tools and management systems.  Requires the purchase or design of intensive benchmark assessments, increase in instructional time, and an explicit focus on remediation to get back to grade level work.

Related Actions. While the existing school vision or portrait of a graduate are an aspiration of what we hope for every student, the clarion call is how to get students back on grade level driven by testing results. The Curriculum and Instructional Design Choices would be governed by these questions: What to cover? What to reinforce?  Assessments would be those used in the past to reaffirm coverage of curriculum and retainment of basic skills. There is an increased focus on the use of standardized testing and purchased products to determine remediation and intervention strategies. This also might impact how students are scheduled and grouped as well as opportunities they have access to such as recess and electives.

Approach 2- REFRESH. Over the course of a few years, we can refresh curriculum and pedagogy by continuing specific practices that were borne out of necessity during the pandemic. Requires intensive PLC and vertical level work, commitment to future forward goals, increased use of formative assessments, and leveraging the four structures for innovative ideas to flourish.

Related Actions. The school vision or portrait of a graduate are revisited and perhaps modified to  the range of learning environments students and staff experienced navigated during the pandemic.  For example, future-forward goals, framed as roles for learners, can be added to our aspirations such as student as digital citizen,  self-navigator, and innovative designer.  These goals become the north star to help navigate our curriculum choices for refreshing courses.   Grade level, department, and vertical teams of faculty will be focus on a deliberate review of  scope and sequence and asking:  What to cut out? What to cut back? What to consolidate? What to keep? Limited attention is given to structural shifts with basic adherence to previous schedules, and spaces (both on-site and virtual), grouping of students, and faculty.  There may be a willingness to experiment with innovative ideas such as adding a new space to create and collaborate or  periodic scheduling changes to make space for a more intensive study or  exhibition of learning. For the most part,  the curriculum is refreshed but the program structures are maintained. 

Approach 3- RESET. Over the course of a few years, we can reset and design new possibilities by making curricular and structural choices to create contemporary opportunities for our future forward goals. Requires deliberate examinations of existing practices, policies, and structures to inform next iterations of schooling for our community.

Related Actions. Actively seeking input from all perspectives in the school community to update learning goals and opportunities with a particular eye to new roles and responsibilities for learners.  A reset of the curriculum will be directly connected to streamlining of subject area courses and cultivating faculty partnerships to develop interdisciplinary and  phenomena based learning experiences. The driving questions might be:  What to cut out? What to cut back? What to consolidate? What to keep? What to create? Critical is that equal attention is given to resetting the structural nest to create the best possible learning environment choices based on actual learner needs versus habit. The four structures, schedules, learning spaces, grouping of students, and personnel configurations, are essential to  new opportunities for learning experiences whether it is a pathway model, innovation lab, mentorship program, design corner, global forums, or place-based projects.

Clearing a Path for Thoughtful and Responsive Plans

When facing challenges we are constrained by what is in our bank of options but also be able to examine a range of options moving forward. Key is partnering with all members of the community in developing and laying  out possibilities in making choices in curriculum and the structural formats that directly impact your students.

To be clear, reassuring families and faculty is critical,  but yielding to the tendency to “go back and pick up where we left off  not only may be counterproductive, but potentially damaging to the health of our school community.  For example, pressuring teachers to cover 18 months of curriculum in 10 months  may create a new wave of teacher burnout and retirements/resignations which would prompt further learning loss.   Teacher shortages for the upcoming school year is a reality.   As noted in the NY Times: Desperate to stanch staffing shortfalls, districts large and small are   increasing pay for substitutes and even advertising for temporary positions on local billboards. Some states and districts have also suspended college course requirements, or permitted abbreviated online training, for emergency substitute teachers.

Given the global nature of the pandemic and the varied restrictions within and across countries, it is difficult to ascertain how events will unfold in the months ahead. Determining when post-pandemic school life will clearly emerge is not possible, but the need for thoughtful and responsive plans could not be more timely.

3-Part Process For Making Deliberate Curriculum Choices:

Cross posted from Learning Sets

What to cut out? Cut back on? Consolidate? Keep? Create?

Educators face a critical challenge:  how to engage their learners in a curriculum that is responsive to where their students are right now — addressing learning losses and gains — in service to where they aspire to be. Over the past year, all of us have had our lives turned upside down. Each and every one of us had to figure out what to do next based on information that regularly was modified. To be a self-navigator, creative problem solver, and media critic (just to name a few) was essential for our resilience during this pandemic.

This is a call to sustain the flexibility, agility, and innovation that was present in schools during the pandemic rather than jump onto the “let’s pick up where we left off” bandwagon. In this post, we focus on the value and necessity of curriculum as an aspirational and actionable blueprint that staff can use for guidance in developing responsive learning experiences with their students.

To that end, we offer a three-part process for examining existing curriculum to determine what matters most for your “right now” learners. This process may be painful, especially when letting go of carefully crafted assignments and lesson plans.  Perhaps there is guidance in looking to the Latin root word for curriculum, which means a path to run in small steps. The familiarity with this path creates ruts that become deeper and make it more difficult to see with fresh eyes. Engaging in a curriculum “reset” may open up fresh approaches for how to rethink curriculum narratives.

First, revisit aspirational goals you have established as a school.

Examine your vision or portrait of a graduate and reflect on what student roles and related skills are central for them to navigate and thrive. This work can provide a balcony view to clarify broader learning goals that ideally guide day to day learning choices that teachers and students make—goals that take the long view on determining the strength, approaches, life-skills, and aptitudes needed to support our learners.

  • For teachers in the identification, creation, and/or redesign of compelling problems, questions, and challenges that can give insight into a refreshed curriculum storyline. Otherwise we are more likely to recycle what we have immediately in front of us, to cover old material, and to miss an opportunity.
  • For students as they are becoming more skillful, sophisticated, and strategic throughout their school years. This is especially helpful now when students may feel increased pressure/anxiety in anticipation of pace of learning to “catch up” for what was missed.
  • For the school community in reaching consensus on realistic priorities will be central to our efforts. Otherwise, there may be a tendency to go for the granular, memorize some facts, scramble to construct where “we left off.” It is critical to reach consensus as a school community on learning goals that will serve as a North Star to decision making.

This renewed focus and commitment to the vision or portrait of a graduate should be driving your curriculum reset.

Second, examine and clarify your current curriculum narrative.

  • Compile existing units of study from your curriculum. Ideally, this can be done in grade level bands (e.g., K-1, 6-8) to ensure the choices you want to make do not put undue pressure on other grade levels to capture essential content. Working in departments on the high school level is obviously important, but it is also equally important to review across a grade level to see what the challenges will be for learners attempting to juggle multiple demands.  
  • Examine each one and tell a brief story (thumbnail synopsis) of that unit. Why does it exist? What is the essential learning students will be able to continue to develop and transfer when that unit is over? What are the most critical standards to be in the foreground?  
  • Review the storyline through the scope of the year. Are there connections between the units? What does your curriculum value the most?  

Third, ask yourselves the following questions:

Could you cut out unit(s) of study to make room for deeper investigation and development of key concepts and skills?

In any composition there is an editorial review where the question of “cutting” material is central to the whole. What matters most given the time that we have for our specific learners with our specific conditions, we must govern how we decide. To be clear, when cutting units it will be critical to examine standards that were emphasized in a unit. Given that standards are cultivated over time, it is likely that the faculty teams can readily identify the most critical standards that have been in the “foreground” in the design of learning experiences. It is always a concern to us when we see a unit of study with 30 standards listed (this is not an exaggeration) since these proficiencies take time to develop. Bundling standards that naturally cluster together in student learning is a natural way to align assessments. A faculty team can look at bundled and individual standards to sort out which are the most essential to their specific learners and those that are not.

Could you cut back each unit of study significantly? 

It is highly likely that individual educators have made key decisions to cut back during this past year. Moving forward we suggest your planning teams review the “thumbnail” story of the curriculum through the year to determine places where they may elect to cut back and distinguish the most essential from the less critical material in their units.   The task is to distinguish the most essential elements in the curriculum and place them in the foreground.

  • Skills: Given the importance of cognitive and technical skills in the long term growth of learners, teachers will want to elevate critical skills integral in supporting students within a given discipline as well as sub skills tied to Future Forward Learning Goals.
  • Content cuts: The tendency to “cover” content needs to be confronted in order to move forward.  Distinguishing content that directly supports and is central to the Future Forward Learning Goals and storyline might prove to be a great challenge but also a rewarding one. Of particular value will be to proactively have our learners show the connections between the key content and that storyline as the curriculum develops.
  • Assessment cuts: Considerations and decisions about what formative and summative assessments will be the most revealing and helpful demonstrations of learning should be determined as a faculty both across grade levels and vertically. Certainly the impact of state or provincial requirements for public educators and education organization policies (e.g.,. College Board, IB) is a major factor in decision making. Bottom line, if there are cuts in the curriculum then there will be corresponding cuts in the assessments.

Could you consolidate based on units of study and personal learning progress during the remote learning time?

Given the nature of your course or grade level subject area layout, if there are related and clear connections between units then combining them is possible. To consolidate means to combine elements to make a more effective coherent whole. On a practical review of the scope and sequence of a year’s units, we can step back and not only determine what we might cut and where we might cut back, but where we can merge units of study. Consolidation can certainly occur within an existing unit as a teacher reviews and revises elements and activities based on past experience. Certainly interdisciplinary units of study can be a fruitful design consideration when consolidating.

  • It may be that a geology course in a high school begins with a look at the formation of the earth as a planet for the first unit and in the second examines oceans and the third unit looks at land. It seems that these three could be combined to shorten the time and be reframed to look at the early story of planet earth: beginnings and elements.
  • On the elementary level, a fourth grade ELA curriculum might have a sequence that moves from a unit on historical fiction focused on a chapter book perhaps Number the Stars by Lois Lowry , to a unit on persuasive writing on an issue. It seems plausible to combine those two and consider having students take a stand on a critical issue raised in Lowry’s classic work.

Could you create a new unit or module to replace this altogether? 

Generating new curriculum units responsive to the learners and to the zeitgeist is an option that seems particularly relevant.  Certainly, new units could be interdisciplinarily derived from a reconsideration of your existing layout for the school year.  A deliberate lens from multiple subject areas on common topics, problems, issues, and themes could provide a fresh perspective for learners. We strongly recommend the development of phenomena-based learning supporting inquiry into emergent problems and issues in a students life.  These might be framed on a personal, local, or global level but what is key is there is an immediacy to the situation. (NOTE: Interdisciplinary units emerge from the natural connections we see “between disciplines”, that is between the subjects.  Phenomena-based is not anchored in our traditional school day but transcends the notion.   We are not suggesting one is “better than the other”, rather we hope to provide a menu of options as units are generated).

A key organizing focus could be phenomena-based given the emergent issues regarding the pandemic. Whether an individual unit or a series of units, learners could examine the impact personally, locally, or globally. Certainly developmental considerations need to be primary here. Here are some examples:

  • On all levels, learners can document and share their experience to document their personal experiences as part of a living history that is being told from diverse perspectives using upgraded authentic assessment formats. The unit could be COVID19: My Story, Your Story, Our Stories
  • Secondary students can dive into an examination of the pandemic and/or consider specific angles. For example, as contemporary historians they might develop an annotated timeline since the first reports in November 2019 from China to the present. As journalists they could “cover” certain angles on the pandemic in a series of articles: the point of view of essential workers, impact on a range of families in the community or, the challenge to local government and decision making. Clearly, an area of fascination for all of us is the scientific research and scramble to develop treatments and a vaccine and certainly for our learners that could be covered in an empirical style.
  • Elementary students might engage and develop service-based learning projects to thank local health care and essential service providers. Whether in the form of written communication or in a short video message, gratitude is appreciated and it is important to display. What is more, it may be possible to actually provide concrete support to members of the local community as the adaptation and easing into functional society occurs.

Looking Ahead

Decisions on curriculum matters have never been easy.   Educators know that there are certain units of study and learning experiences that are particularly satisfying to teach and are hard to let go of. There can be sharp differences of opinion on what matters most for learners between members of a grade-level team or department. Conversely, there are great opportunities for collaboration and responsiveness to the needs, especially now, as we work through these decisions. As school faculties lay out a reimagined path in partnership with their learners and families, the opportunity is to leverage specific expertise in service to common and aspirational learning goals.

10 Decisions Finland Makes In Schools That Can Directly Inform Our Post Pandemic Response

BY HEIDI HAYES JACOBS AND ALLISON ZMUDA
Cross posted from Learning Sets

When  Finland was recently crowned happiest country again in 2020, we reached out to our Finnish colleague to check in and see how he and his country were faring. Two and a half years ago , we had an opportunity to co-design and take a tour of Finnish schools with  Educational Leadership Consultant Mikko Salonen.  We recently corresponded with him and he wrote:

At the moment, we are making plans of opening the society after the pandemic, and how to repair the damages on learning and how to mend the learning deficit. We have gone through a very hard period of remote teaching and learning in basic education, high schools and universities.  Also we have a big concern about how to help those who are suffering with mental problems, loneliness and other problems caused by the pandemic. 

The political decision makers are working on these issues in close cooperation with the professionals (education, health, etc).  I believe that we will be able to tackle this challenge by doing multi-professional cooperation, but it will not be easy and there is no quick way out. We are very proud of our country and the achievements we have reached as a society. Our society functions well, is safe, clean and sustainable, and we can trust both each other and those who have responsible positions in the society. 

As Mikko suggests, Finland’s story continues to be one of reckoning, resilience, and future-forward thinking. To be clear,  Finland hit the reset button beginning in  the 1970’s when their education system and economy was struggling.   Their education saga has been nothing short of  extraordinary (aka the Finland Phenomona). As we continue to be responsive to what our right now learners need and how we can become more agile in our curricular and structural choices, we reflected on lessons that could help fuel fresh possibilities for any school around the world.

  1. Teachers work in teams with the same group of students over several years providing not only community but increased opportunity to know each child and apply consistent support for growth.   Research on long-term grouping points to the benefits of sustained continuity with a group of teachers in contrast to the loss that occurs when student continuity is broken each school year with a new teacher and a new group of students.
  2. Teaching teams have a sizeable degree of autonomy on managing daily and weekly schedules which allows for highly responsive instructional approaches to student learning.  Flex-time is key in order to take a deeper dive with learners who need support and to explore questions and possibilities with learners.
  3. Phenomenon-based learning is an integrated part of the curriculum.  The national guidelines ask that each learner have at least one substantial learning experience based on emergent and relevant real-world applications.  These are definitely interdisciplinary in design and fully engage learners in the process of relevant inquiry.
  4. Teachers and teaching are highly valued in the country.   Teaching is one of the hardest professions to enter given requisite high standards.    Statistically out of 8000 applicants for teacher education certification programs offered at the university level, only 10% are accepted  (according to the Kantor Education Policy Group ).  Highly educated and highly capable teachers collaborate throughout their professional careers are central to the success of the Finnish education system.
  5. Universal pre-K is essential to school readiness.  With a system that supports families with one year of maternity/paternity leave and universal pre-K in a rich environment supporting social and academic development.   Formal school begins at age 7 buttressed by this national commitment to support families providing equitable learning experiences.   Children are ready for school.
  6. Every teacher is entrusted to support every learner.   Whether it is working with new immigrants or students with special needs, each teacher has both the training and expectations to work with every child. There is an emphasis on working with students through both early prevention and detection to identify needs and attend to them. In addition, mental and emotional health and wellbeing is tended to through curricular programs as well as part of the tiered levels of support.
  7. The intentional use of formative assessments to grow the learning and the learner. There are limited pressures to finish work at the end of the class period. Encouraging learning — drafting an idea, making mistakes, and growing from feedback — is the dominant a way of thinking and working. This becomes the basis of the feedback cycle with teachers and students as they regularly conference to examine progression and determine next steps.
  8. Relaxed environment to grow autonomous learning.  When students are at ease and feel supported they step up and take increased responsibility for their own learning.  Finnish students are expected to be accountable for their own actions,  demonstrate their learning, and share how they feel about their learning.    The physical learning spaces provide outlets and opportunities for interaction such as ping pong tables, comfortable seating.   Students and teachers enjoying spending time together as they are working. This relaxed environment is also anchored by student self-directed tasks (e.g., cleaning the tables in the cafeteria, focusing on assignments).
  9. The leader’s role is to grow the capacity of the staff through strategic and compassionate approaches. Instead of taking a more aggressive approach through formal evaluations, building leaders acknowledge teacher emotions but work to change or grow their pedagogy.   Cultivating the relationship of teams is grounded on the concept of the circle of trust and is central to the leader purpose.   Teachers are committed to using their freedom wisely as they interpret National Curriculum and design learning experiences.   Leaders observe and consider how professional pedagogy and emotional support can be enriched through coteaching, flexible scheduling, or focus on a building-wide narrative (e.g., flipped learning, cultural competence).
  10. Clear national goals that commit to preparing every learner for the world we live in right now. The goals of the national curriculum are: growth as a human being and membership in society; knowledge of requisite skills; promotion of knowledge and ability, equality and lifelong learning. Every child is important to the society.

The shifts and decisions that Finland began to make over 50 years ago were compelled by a national commitment to the care and wellbeing of their students by aspiring to an equitable teaching and learning system for all. Finnish leaders continue to seek inspiration around the globe for fresh ideas to consider ways of thoughtful innovation while trusting slow growth to build expertise as they engage with complex problems, challenges, and ideas that are central to a creative economy.

Right now we are facing both the challenge and the opportunity to reset. Rather than simply admiring the Finnish system and their response to the pandemic, might we inform our decisions with insights from their extensive experience?   Our learners need us to step up and take purposeful action in contrast to going back to school.   They need us to move forward.

Cool Summer School: An Appalachian District Leads The Way

BY HEIDI HAYES JACOBS AND ALLISON ZMUDA
Cross posted from Learning Sets

Headlines announce and policies pronounce that 2021 will be the mother of all summer schools.  With schools and districts scrambling to make up for learning loss due to the pandemic, dollars are being thrown at summer schools to lift up students in order to prepare for the start of the upcoming academic year. Summer enrichment and remediation programs will get at least $1.2 billion.  “As schools approach the end of a full year of pandemic learning, however, summer school is being reimagined and broadened into what is likely to be the most expansive — and expensive — summer programming in modern history.” (Washington Post -Joe Heim, Valerie Strauss, Laura Meckler)

Yet, summer school often has a reputation for sluggish engagement with limited impact at raising the performance of struggling students. It is often viewed by students themselves as punitive. “I didn’t make it during the school year so now they are going to take my summer from me.”  Given the overwhelming numbers of students who have slipped precipitously during the school year it is understandable to want to use this particular  summer for in person teaching and learning experiences.   Is it possible?  We think that a school district in eastern Tennessee is showing creativity, rigor, and smarts in their approach.

Super Cool Summer School 

Carter County School District has a PK-12 student population of 5100 students located in the Appalachian region. Under the visionary leadership of Superintendent Dr.Tracy McAbee, a leadership team designed a 4-week experience “seeking to engage and to motivate learners this summer by making summer school cool and relevant.” The district is taking full advantage of their location to provide both an academic program with the remarkable resources of the outdoors that their location provides.

With imagination and a commitment to an integrated curriculum , Supervisor of Curriculum, Dr. LaDonna Boone, notes, “Our students K-8 will be fully engaged in exciting, language-rich programs each day that culminate with a full day Friday field experience.  We love living right  in our beautiful Applalachian mountains and we intend to make full use of them as a motivator for our students.”

The summer school is a purposeful link to showcase the integration of the sciences with language arts.  The program will run from 8 AM to 2 PM Monday through Thursday with a rich array of activities for learners in support of building up their skill levels and their confidence.   Friday, students will board buses for the nearby mountains for their guided nature experiences that will be planned in conjunction with the curriculum during the week. Working with a lead science teacher, Tyler Chambers,  Dr. Boone hopes not only to get students hiking and interacting with nature  as young scientists but to bring back their observations as the basis for their language and math program during the other four days of the week.

There is more at work here, the district leadership is looking to develop interest and engagement in the sciences for the students in Carter County moving forward for the long term.   “We have a very strong athletic program and our students are motivated.  We want to engender the same in the sciences and see that our summer school in 2021 can be a launch for renewing those efforts.”

Lessons from Carter County 

With the fatigue and demands of the pandemic on teachers, students, and families this past year, the last thing we need is a frustrating re-entery into on-site learning that smacks of listlessness.  Students are going to want to enjoy their summers as are their teachers. As the recent Summer Learning Report from the Spencer Foundation notes two recommended guiding principles for developing summer programs should be to provide creative, inquiry-based forms of learning and to build from students’ interests and to take a whole child approach to their development.  Here are a few lessons from Carter County District as well as some additional ideas we have been picking up from other districts faced with this challenge:

  1. Interview and listen to your learners as soon as possible  before the start of summer school to obtain their ideas and interests so that your teaching staff has time to include in their planning.
  2. Look for community learning opportunities to integrate naturally with your academic program.
  3. Emphasize language rich experiences not only through academic vocabulary but sentence starters to help students share orally and discuss their experiences.
  4. Field trips built into the routine of the week will likely prove most successful.
  5. Encourage media making for students to document their experience.

Carter literally is looking in their own backyard for inspiration and engagement. Not all of our schools are located near beautiful mountains, forests, marshlands, or beaches. Yet, the possibilities for direct integration into our communities can serve as a spark to create summer experiences that can ignite interest, a touch of summer camp, and purposeful learning.

We need Engaged Educators

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

All our best strategies, plans, projects, initiatives, etc. will all come to nothing and fizzle out, if we, as educators (Yes, I am also talking about teachers AND administrators) are NOT engaged as leaders and learners.

WE NEED ENGAGED EDUCATORS who:

  • are self-motivated and self-directed
  • give as much as they are taking from other educators
  • are flexible, innovative and willing to take risks
  • contribute and take an active part in a global conversation via their expertise, perspectives, shareable content and their time
  • understand that sharing is a moral imperative in a global network of educators and learners
  • are invested in their own learning

Are you engaged as a leader and learner ?

engaged-educators-tolisano

 

Social Media FOR Schools: Strategy, Platforms, Shareable Content

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, cross posted to Langwitches Blog

A previous post was focused on developing shareable content FOR schools via social media, I have taken a step back to look at the bigger picture and the different components schools need to consider and gain fluency in order to best harvest the power of social media for them.

  • awareness of the difference between social media IN schools and FOR schools
  • social media strategy for schools
  • social media platforms and tools: characteristics, capabilities, type of content suited for particular platform, image/video sizes
  • characteristics of shareable content

Download Social Media FOR Schools infographic for free (pdf)

social-media-for-schools_tolisano_0

While social media in schools deals primarily with policies around how to use (or not use) social media in the classroom with students, social media for schools is about storytelling and getting their stakeholders (teachers, students, administrators, parents, community) to spread these stories.

social-media-for-schools_tolisano_1 social-media-for-schools_tolisano_2 social-media-for-schools_tolisano_3 social-media-for-schools_tolisano_4 social-media-for-schools_tolisano_5

What are the best ways a teacher can demonstrate leadership in the classroom?

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano. Cross-posted to the Langwitches Blog.
What are the best ways a teacher can demonstrate leadership in the classroom?
I started to poke a little around to get a better handle on the popular notion of WHAT leadership was perceived as:
I found a definition on Google:
definition_leadership_-_Google_SearchI conducted a Google image search:
leadership_quotes_-_Google_SearchI got hundreds of quotes and points of view WHAT leadership is by searching for the #leadership hashtag on Twitter.
_leadership_-_Twitter_Search _leadership_-_Twitter_Search2 _leadership_-_Twitter_Search3
“Leadership is action, not a position” by Donald McGannon
I also looked at the results of an image search on Google and got visuals of how the concept of leadership might be represented. [ Oddly, the images below almost always portrait a leader who is somehow different (bigger size, different color, in a different position or pointing with a finger to something that has to be done]
leadership_-_Google_SearchTaking these popular notions, quotes, points of view and visuals into account: How does leadership look like in the classroom? What are the best ways a teacher can demonstrate leadership in the classroom?
demonstrate-leadership-tolisano
In the classroom, as a teacher, it boils down to a “Leadership Flow” for me, not one best way or another. That flow could be accomplished with the following four components:
  1. Model
  2. Experience
  3. Share
  4. Trust

Model:
A leader in the classroom models the type of behavior and learning they want to see and encourage in their students. They are transparent in their own learning process, they do not hide mistakes or failures, their make their thinking, learning and process visible for others to reconstruct and follow. Leaders model by example not by ” Do as I say”.

Experience:
A leader in the classroom gives students the opportunities to experience the learning. Leaders in the classroom don’t skip steps because it is easier, less time consuming and possibly more convenient. By the same token, leaders are ready to experience and embrace new situations, new skills, new learning opportunities alongside their students. Leaders put themselves in the position of learners and don’t continue to only draw on experiences from another lifetime (when they were young or from a pre-technology world). Leaders encourage, value, support and celebrate “sticking your neck out” in order to experience new paths.

Share:
A leader celebrates, highlights and shares their classroom learning community’s accomplishments. The leader takes on the responsibility of documenting and strategically amplifying through a variety of venues. This can range from face to face in-school sharing opportunities to district, national or international conferences as well as online social network platforms (Ex. blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, Diigo)

Trust:
A leader in the classroom is always working on establishing and strengthening trust as an integral component of that leadership flow. Trust is the component that “lubricates” the movement of the flow. Leaders always seek and take advantage of opportunities to gain trust but also learn to trust their students.