I believe that focusing attention on high leverage instructional practices impacts learning, adult
learning and student learning. That is my intent and this is influencing recent topics at faculty professional learning meetings.
What are those instructional practices that we are exploring?
Earlier this year, I asked faculty to set two professional goals related to the following areas. These areas were identified as potential high leverage practices related to research from John Hattie.
|Identifying Learning GoalsSetting clear learning expectations
Appropriate level of challenge for students
Clear success criteria (exemplars, rubrics, etc)
Clear and specific feedback
Use of formative assessment
|Questioning techniquesTeacher talk & Thinking time
High level questioning and discourse within classroom
Classroom positioning and classroom discourse
Simply put, if teachers do these things well, students learning will improve!
Great teaching is hard. It requires intense thought, planning, and instinct. We are trying to maintain a focus in the Secondary School on several specific areas that, if done well, are definite elements of great teaching!
- Clear learning goals & targets.
- Clear language goals & targets (“all teachers are teachers of language”)
- Goals & targets for students that are appropriately challenging.
- Scaffolded instruction to support students in meeting targets
- Differentiated opportunities to support students (“differentiation is a mindset”)
- Formative assessment that provides clear and specific feedback
- Minimizing teacher talk and maximizing classroom discourse
If we work hard to become even better at our craft and expand our understanding, knowledge, and skills in these areas, we will be better teachers and student learning improves. This is my belief.
I think finding and maintaining a focus around instructional strategies and best practices is incredibly challenging. If teachers can really try to find those few areas to focus upon, latch onto, dig into their professional learning, and experiment with then adult learning will take place. If adults learn and expand professionally, student learning expands.