Reflect on How Well Students are Learning:
In performance-driven classrooms, teachers constantly reflect on how well their students are learning. Success should be measured by how well students have learned rather than how well teachers think they taught. Data help teachers know if and when they need to re-teach the content. It also helps them measure if they should provide more practice and coach more in the next school year. When reflecting on a 30-day teaching period, teachers should use student learning and parent satisfaction results. These shape their teaching practices for the next 30 days. To enhance their reflective practices, teachers can serve as coaches to each other. Teachers learn from each other when they engage in focused conversations to reinforce student learning in their classrooms. These types of conversations are great ways for teachers to learn about teaching strategies that they otherwise may not have considered.
Key Reflection Tactic: Networking
Teachers can network with one another to discuss what teaching strategies are helping students hit their learning targets and what else they could be doing to further coach their students. As part of this tactic, we recommend creating teacher learning teams. These teams help individual teachers improve their self-reflection strategies. They also help the group as a whole reflect on and improve their teaching practices. The learning teams should include collegial coaches who serve to help the teacher learning teams learn, plan, analyze, and reflect together.
When teacher learning teams are used, we find that teachers have an opportunity to think outside of their individual reflections and engage in dialogue with their colleagues that can help them improve their practices. Consequently, they also feel more confident about their abilities to manage their classrooms in ways that reinforce student learning. Collegial coaches help teachers reflect on their practices without judging or evaluating teacher behaviors. In our own research, we are beginning to work more and more with collegial coaches and teacher learning teams. We are researching what methodologies work well—such as implementing the 30-day student learning period, involving parents in the education process, and reviewing teacher satisfaction results—as well as what methodologies need to be changed.
How can teacher learning teams advance the use of data for reflection and planning to achieve greater results at your school?
Asti Kelley, TeacherReady®