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Effectiveness, Reflection, and Critique...oh my!

As a teacher and instructional coach, the demands of honing our craft, the art of teaching, can be elusive.  With the crush of strategies, best practices, researched-based instruction, and the myriad of other elements of pedagogy, we can become disorientated by the noise created by the science of teaching.  As value-added education, student growth models, and teacher effectiveness increasingly come under the microscope of public scrutiny, we feel the pressure to perform.  The pressure to improve student performance is felt by all of us. 


So, how?  How can we work both as a classroom teacher isolated in our experience with our students, and as a member of a profession in control of the experiences for students in class to improve student achievement.  I believe the answer, or at least the initial steps, can be in the power of Reflection.  Teachers, and all human beings for that matter, that are naturally reflective about their craft and effectiveness are the teachers that continue to improve. My dilemma as an educator is to make reflection purposeful and meaningful.  To make sure I always exhibit that growth-mindset so that my students and colleagues view me as a life-long learner. 

According Charlotte Danielson, reflection has two important attributes.  One: it is a teachable skill.  It must be nutured, modeled, part of the climate, and demonstrated as what ALL learners do.  Two: it must be accurate, specific, and impact future teaching.  Kelly and I have been working all year on ways to do just this for ourselves and teachers we work with. 

So, in the true spirit of design thinking, something I learned from ECET2 at the Business Innovation Factory session, Kelly and I are putting our work out there for public comment and critique.  We need your input to make these tools better.  To help us refine and to help teachers reflect.  As you review the tools, post questions, email us comments, tweet us thoughts.  We want and need anything you can provide. 

Briefly, the two posted tools are lesson data collection tools that attempt to capture teacher impressions IN THE MOMENT of enactment.  We have found that often times reflection comes much later for teachers and we may forget key details or moments of the lesson.  One tool is primarily an English/Language Arts tool and the other is for Math.  So, here we go.  Critique.  Help us, help others.

English/Language Arts Lesson Reflection Tool

Math Shell Center Lesson Reflection Tool

Provide us Feedback for our Virtual Design Experiment



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