Thursday, July 18, 2013

Reflection #22: Learning Expectations

Sharing Learning Expectations at Student, Family,
and Parent Meetings, and online helps to clarify
learning goals and expectations.
Are you clear about the overarching behavior and learning expectations for your students'? Do you have those expectations clearly published for all in the learning community to read and review? When do you plan to review and discuss these expectations with students, parents, and family members?

These are important questions as we consider the learning year ahead. Parents, family members, and students will be able to coach each other, discuss, and meet expectations if they understand the expectations well, and have a chance to work with you as the educator to understand and revise, if necessary, those expectations.

Posting behavior expectations on a class blog or website helps
parents, family members, and students clearly understand those expectations.
I suggest that educators review their curriculum goals prior to the school year, and use those goals to create a short list of overarching curriculum and behavior expectations. Then I recommend that educators post the expectations on their class website or blog, and review the expectations with students and family members at the start of the year through newsletters and person-to-person conversations. Educators should be prepared to make revisions to the expectations after student, parent, and family member conversations if warranted.

I also recommend that educators create a communication system for consistent, two-way school-home information share. Educators should share the communication framework with families and students at the start of the year through the class website, newsletters, and conversations. Similar to the expectations for behavior and learning, educators should be prepared to revise the communication system after student, family member, and parent conversations if needed.

There's substantial preparation involved when meeting The Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Rubric Standard element 3D1, Learning Expectations. School systems need to be aware of the importance of these pre- and early teaching year efforts, and respond by making time for teachers to do the work upfront with regard to establishing expectations and communication systems, and then communicating that work to students, family members, and parents through websites, home-school newsletters, and parent, family member, and student conversations. Knowing where we are going is a large part of achieving success, and sharing student learning and behavior expectations with clear communication systems is a vital element in this effort.

Guided Reflection
As you reflect on element 2D3, read the standard, indicator, element, criteria, key points, and questions below.  Use the grid to reflect upon, and to make notes related to this element's implications for your own practice.

Standard III: Family and Community Engagement. The teacher promotes the learning and growth of all students through effective partnerships with families, caregivers, community members, and organizations.

Element III-B-1: Learning Experiences

Criteria (exemplary)
Successfully conveys to most parents clear, user-friendly student learning and behavior expectations.  Is able to  model this element.

Key Points and Questions:
  • Conveys student learning and behavior expectations.  How do you create year-long and specific lesson/unit learning and behavior expectations?  How do you convey these expectations to parents and family members?
  • Clear, User-Friendly. How do you make learning and behavior expectations clear and user friendly?

Element 3B1: Learning Expectations
Key Points
Effective Efforts

Implications for Your Practice
Conveys student learning and behavior expectations.
How do you create year-long and specific lesson/unit learning and behavior expectations?  How do you convey these expectations to parents and family members?
  • Establish learning and behavior expectations related to year-long, lesson, and unit goals.
  • At the beginning of the year or even before the year starts inform families and parents of student learning and behavioral expectations.
  • Regularly inform families of lesson and unit goals.
  • As soon as students begin to not meet expectations, contact family members to discuss the situation.
  • Have an “open door, open communication” system in place for parent questions and information to foster optimal parent/family-teacher communication.
  • Have a class website that includes all information related to the classroom program for parent/family 24-7 access.

Clear, User-Friendly.
How do you make learning and behavior expectations clear and user friendly?
  • Create communication routines and structures that parents and families can easily access.
  • Survey parents and families about communication regularly, particularly at start of year, and revise accordingly.
  • Reach out to families who appear to not receive or understand communications sooner than later.

Reflections' Links