Posts tagged education
On Task Design--A Post in Response to My Conversation With John Antonetti

As a follow-up from my conversation with John Antonetti, I wanted to consider how a task is different from a lesson.  I came into the conversation aware that John and his collaborators James Garver and Terri Stice had done a lot of work with the concept of task design.  In fact, John and Terri’s recent book #Powerful Task Design, is predicated upon tasks.

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What You Say vs. What They Hear: The Importance of Clarity in Coaching

One should be aware of the distinction required in terms one uses in their profession.  As a coach, I’ve often wondered about some of the terms I’ve heard for the pairing of a coach and teacher.  For example, some models refer to the teacher as a “client.”  This seems an odd choice if no money exchanges hands.  It also implies that this is a transactional relationship that is predicated upon delivery of a concrete product. 

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The Benefit of Rehearsal

That was when I learned to deliberately script some responses or interactions I could anticipate.  Obviously, I’d developed go-to responses when a parent or student came to me with garden-variety issues.  Those were essentially scripted too, but through an evolutionary process.  The experience with the phone call list brought me to try it in other situations.  I have carried this over to my coaching work, especially that with novice teachers fresh from Ed School.

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Open Question--How to Quantify the Efficacy of a Coach?

Interpreting data from Education studies can often be a test of faith more than anything.  There are a lot of studies that conflate causation with correlation.  To clarify what causation and correlation are, here’s a classic example: when ice cream sales increase, so does the murder rate.  When one reads this, it seems that increased ice cream sales cause an increase in murder….

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Assuming the Positive: Things to Consider About the Norming Process

I think what stymied my connection to the norming process was that I’d seen and experienced it done haphazardly. So, my view, initially, was that this was a lot of pageantry to make a group leader feel effective. I know why, now that I’m on the other end of things, these sessions didn’t work. They were one and done, poster on the wall, and then they were never spoken of again.

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Coaching--A Difference Between Life and Death?

Dr. Atul Gawande has been very vocal about the need for professionals to use coaches in their drive toward improvement.  When we consider the very real need for strong skills in the field for doctors, it seems like there is really no reason we should not support this.  Does the same apply to educators?  Is it life and death for us?  This post explores some of those thoughts at a prime time in the year for a teacher to sign on with a coach.

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Some Thoughts on Beginning CRT Work

CRT is not a boxed program, or a couple strategies to streamline a unit, it is harder to teach it.  And, as most people are aware, we are living in a time in which some of the socio-economic and racial biases in this country have been opened up and are raw to the touch.  Teaching this approach would have been a difficult process even without the current moment exacerbating things, but here we are and we must take the situation as it is, and not (unfortunately) as we’d prefer it to be.

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Stealing the Thinking

The new school year always brings excitement and anticipation, especially for new teachers.  It also brings Dr. Dan Mulligan. He’s able to encapsulate the bulk of best practice into a rapid-fire review, and do so in a way that holds your attention.  This time however, I heard him say something I’d never heard from him before. He said, “Don’t steal the thinking,”

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So, Just Know That We're Overselling STEM

Much of STEM work in public schools is intended to give students a leg up on their college career.  Robotics clubs, Computer Science/Coding, AP Chem, Bio, Physics, all of these are great for a college application.  And, while efforts to bring young women into the fold of the male-dominated STEM world are admirable, how many girls are encouraged to become electricians, mechanics, or plumbers?  There is just as much entrepreneurial opportunity in those fields, and I would argue (cautiously) that there may be more…

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The Utility of a Third Space During Difficult Conversations

If there is progress in a teacher's work as a result of an approach like this, it builds the teacher's capacity, and it creates trust in the work the coach and the teacher are doing together, so that there may be even deeper dives into difficult work in the future as the teacher embarks on their own improvement.

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Reflecting on a Year

It was just too easy to shunt the PLC appointment aside to clear a slot for a teacher meeting.  Teachers are, and should be our primary concern as coaches so it's understandable that we would do this.  However, the issue was that we were reading books on issues of importance to our practice without discussing the implications or practices of each book.  I decided to step back from things, and think asynchronously. 

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What I Do When I'm Preparing for a Podcast

Elena Aguilar’s book is intended to accompany a year-long process, and the work begins (ideally) in June.  So, I'll be releasing this episode June 15th. I look at these podcasts as an opportunity to have a long-form discussion over an idea, a chance to dive deeper.  Providing a synopsis, or an overview of a book or concept is helpful when it comes to determining whether you want to buy, or read it, but my preference is to approach these podcasts from the perspective that people have read the book, or are reading the book, and they want to fine-tune their understanding. 

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If You're Looking for Truth, Don't Look Here...

I'm not sure what to do with truth anymore.  Is it more about rightness?  If the truth is going to destroy someone or something, is it always important to make it known?  Or, are there some truths we must keep quiet out of self interest?  If that is the case is this honest practice?  Perhaps truth is merely a weapon to wield, as are lies.

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Childcare as a Means to Retain Teachers? Yes, Please

In response to Ed Week's recent article on teacher retention and how offering childcare as a benefit to teachers, I've written this post.  This is not a new idea, but having recently become a third-time dad, and thinking of the money I spend on childcare and the time involved in pick-up/drop-off coordination, this felt like a topic worth blogging about.

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Who's That Middle School Kid in the Ramones Shirt?!

This post is the result of a piece of conversation I ultimately edited out of the upcoming podcast I did with teacher, Allison Sprouse from Stuarts Draft High School.  That conversation had been a long one, and I hated to cut this section out, but instead I figured I'd turn it into a blog post.  The big idea really is one of culture around this post, and how we live in the current moment--especially the kids.

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Doing Half of the Work: A Meditation

We often guide students to answer questions, but perhaps the other half of the work is to question the answers.  It is the work of a scientific mind as well as that of the philosopher.  Do we often only ask students to do half of the work?  This is a brief meditation on learning.

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Hygge Holidays!? Hygge in Schools? A reply...

As we head into the holidays, I was thinking about something that might connect well to this time of year and education too.  I was reading Nancy Flanagan's (@nancyflanagan) blog on the Danish concept of Hygge (hoo-geh) in schools.  My wife, briefly puzzled, looked at me and said, "That's something I could get behind."  So I looked into it and decided a response to the idea could be a holiday(ish) enough post.

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Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation and How it Can Apply to Change in Schools

Using Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation as an educator seeking change?  It works, and is a good way to conceptualize the process by which professional development and new approaches can proliferate in an organic fashion. 

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