Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thoughts about Building a Program Together

There is a need.

We can do better.

How can we build a good program together?

Start with the strengths--what's working?

Move to the needs--what do we imagine? What do we want?

Design the ideal. What do you wish for? What elements are essential? What priorities are most important?

How much of that ideal can we meet with the people, time, materials, and experience on hand?

Begin there. Craft a program. Try it out. Stop to assess, revise. Continue to grow.

*Example One:
Need: Student who could have greater academic success.

What's Working: Friendly, mostly happy, energetic, conversive, talkative, well loved.

What's Desired: Greater academic skill, investment.

Ideal Program: Greater targeted academic support/teaching with culturally relevant, meaningful, scaffolded learning opportunities in small group with consistent instructor, schedule, and space. Double up the attention to make greater learning gains.

*Example Two:

Need: Greater investment, positivity, collaboration.

What's Working: This need is evidenced in some programming, effort.

What's Desired: Teacher coaching with deeper level collaborative learning events similar to the types of events where learning has been successful.

Ideal Program: Educator meets with student and good peer group to effect a deep, rich, meaningful learning event--an event that inspires, motivates, and develops both cognitive and collaborative skill and knowledge.

This kind of diagnostic approach to teaching students well is a deep, meaningful approach that results in good work, work that matters to students.

*Note that these examples are composite examples including traits from multiple students.