Thursday, September 28, 2017

Teach Well: Progress Matters

Progress matters as illustrated in the Harvard Business Review article, The Power of Small Wins. As I think about nurturing, encouraging, and coaching my young fifth graders forward, I take this idea to heart. How can I celebrate the small wins with students, and focus on the progress we're making in positive, proactive ways? Ambille and Kramer, authors of the article, write, ". . if you focus on managing progress, the management of people--even of entire organizations--becomes much more feasible. . .if you facilitate their steady progress in meaningful work, make that progress salient to them, and treat them well, they will experience the emotions, motivations, and perceptions necessary for great performance."

Good Process Leads to Progress
Streamlining classroom systems to foster independence and make time for the most important tasks is critical. Who wants to waste lots of time on the details? Instead, create systems that are seamless. Yesterday's Open Circle meeting of students pointed out a large number of ways that we can streamline our classroom systems to make them more positive and effective. I'll be working on those details in the next few days.

Meaningful Endeavor
It's critical to bring rationale to every lesson--why are we learning this and why does this matter?

Treat Them Well
Targeted, regular, positive encouragement, support, leadership, and teaching matters. In the article, the authors outline what one great manager does with the following details:
  • Establish yourself as a resource, check-in, don't check-up on students. Help them out rather than give advice, and don't blame, but work together to solve problems. 
  • Use transparency as much as possible. Withholding information diminishes investment.
  • Nourish the team daily by regularly responding and positively intervening to the issues and potential at-hand.
  • Stay attuned to students' daily activity and progress. Continually coach forward with positivity and valued support.
  • Establish a positive climate one event at a time. Model positive talk, effort, problem solving, collaboration, and team.
  • Celebrate the small wins regularly.