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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What does the Rainbow of Teaching and Learning Look Like?

As I strive to achieve the "rainbow" of teaching and learning, it's important that I define that vision.

What does it look like? What's included?

Let's start with the teacher.

The teacher is a well educated, energetic, positive leader who collaborates well with others to continually evolve the educational landscape and program in an effort to teach every child well.

What is teaching well?

Teaching well is the synthesis of knowledge, concept, and skill goals with students' needs and interests. As an end point of teaching well, we want every child to be a confident leader and curator of their own learning efforts and choices. We want students to understand how they can develop, utilize, and adapt skill, concept, and knowledge to achieve their dreams, live good lives, contribute and be happy.

Teaching well depends on collegial, student, family, and community collaboration and optimal programming.

To teach well educators have to collaborate with students, families, colleagues, and the community to craft optimal programs and schedules of study. These programs consist of in-school and out-of-school events and initiatives. The programs continually evolve and make good use of expert visitors, special events, advantageous tools, and thoughtful objectives.

Effective systems promote teaching/learning excellence.

The way systems work matter a lot with regard to excellence in teaching and learning. In the best of systems, distributive leadership is utilized in advantageous ways providing all stakeholders with voice and choice. These distributive models of leadership put all members of the learning community in places of leadership where they work with other members of the learning team to continually develop and utilize optimal efforts to reach the best possible success and positivity for every child.

Problems lead to greater growth and better work.

In these systems, stakeholders reflect regularly and utilize problems as points of discussion, collaboration, and direction when it comes to bettering the work we do individually and collectively. Problems provide us with a direction for betterment and allow us to identify where we can do more or better to serve students.

As I think of this rainbow of teaching and learning, I can identify areas for my own growth and development--areas I'll focus on in the coming months as I work with colleagues to continually improve what we can do.

How do we assess our efforts?

As we reflect, it is essential to assess our efforts as individuals and teams. There are many ways in which we can do this. These questions can lead those assessments:

  • Are students happy, enthusiastic, and leading their efforts to learn well? If not, why not and what more can we do?
  • Are students achieving the goals set? If not, why not? Are the goals reasonable? Does the program support the goals? 
  • Is there more we can do to match our teaching to updated research and knowledge? What do our research and development efforts look like? How can we better these routines in order to evolve our program in ways that matter to students and their families?
  • Are families happy with the program? What more would they add or modify to make the program better? 
While surveys are one way to attain information, it seems to me that in the classroom situation, the better way is through face-to-face conversation and lots of observation. It is the back and forth conversations that the intimacy of classroom life avails that helps most when it comes to improving what we can do to serve all children well.

Personally, what does this mean?
I've set a host of goals for next year's work which are outlined on this page. I know that greater attention to intake efforts and early year get-to-know students/families efforts will develop what we're able to do. I also know that our collective efforts to map the teaching/learning year will help us achieve more. And the analysis of multiple data points, observations, conversations will help us to review and develop  both individual and team goals.