Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Time for Analysis, Response and Prep is Critical

If educators don't have time to do the necessary analysis, response and prep, their work will be hindered and less effective.

To implement lesson after lesson without thoughtful analysis can mean that the lessons are not what students need or desire. This is similar to serving a pbj sandwich repeatedly to a child who does not like or need pbj.

When a teacher has the time to carefully review and respond to students' efforts, the teacher's work becomes more personalized, targeted and engaging.  Further, when students receive thoughtful, targeted feedback their investment, effort and care develops. Also the thoughtful feedback serves to educate students' family members about the ways that they can support that child's academic success too.

The simple truth remains that time for analysis, response and prep is hardly assessed, analyzed or prioritized in schools. Some educators have substantial responsibility for this mostly after-hours work while others have little to no responsibility in this arena.

In some cases, school systems are hiring middle managers to assess data and provide response, yet those middle managers rarely work with the students or have a personal investment in students' success.  I'd rather see the educators who are working with students daily receive that time, and the newly created middle management levels moved into roles that have direct responsibility for teaching students well. I believe that the best ways to build this time is through collaborative teams of hybrid teachers who both work directly with students, and have time to adequately and thoughtfully analyze, respond to and prep student learning endeavors.

As roles and responsibilities are audited, I recommend that the time, consequences and skill related to analysis, response and prep are part of the audit. The audits I recommend essentially take a close look at education roles and student needs noting the responsibilities that best support student success, and those responsibilities that have little impact.

We know that students learn well when they are coached well, and we also know that analysis, response and personalized prep contribute to student success.  Hence, it's in the best interest of students for all of us to advocate for educator time to analyze, respond to, and prep student learning endeavors with care and effect.