We were exploring how to make metacognitive thinking more visible for our students, keeping it aligned with our mandate to keep thinking and learning visible, transparent, tangible, critiqueable and accountable within learning spaces.
“The real engine of value in your organisation is the interactions and collaborations in and through the hierarchy. These collaborative relationships are where the work gets done and where the formal hierarchical decisions are shaped, influenced or frustrated.” – the-wirearchy-makes-your-hierarchy-work/
“A hierarchy is a hub-and-spoke network and pure hub-and-spoke network is nothing more than a hierarchy. Many organizational consultants today make the argument of Hierarchy versus Network — you have to pick one. But, hierarchies are networks with specific properties! Hierarchies and networks are on a continuum — they are not separate species! They don’t collide, they meld.”
Have your students ever told you that your tests are too hard? Tricky? Unfair? Many of us have heard these or similar comments. The conundrum is that, in some circumstances, those students may be right.
How To Help Teachers Create Their Own Professional Development by Terry Heick Traditional teacher professional development depends on external training handed down to teachers after having identified their weaknesses as a professional. If you’re not so great at teacher writing, or if assessment is becoming a bigger focus in your school or district, you fill out a growth plan of some sort, attend your training, get your certificates, and repeat until you’ve got your hours or your school has run out of money to send you to more training. Oftentimes these “professional growth plans” are scribbled out in 15 minute meetings with your principal, then “revisited” at the end of the year as a kind of autopsy. What would happen if we flipped this model on its head? What if instead we created a teacher-centered, always-on, and social approach to teacher improvement? One that connected them with dynamic resources and human communities that modeled new thinking and possibility, and that crucially built on their strengths? The idea here isn’t simply that educators can improve by connected through social networks–they already are doing that. Rather, that schools can decentralize the teacher training effort by cutting them loose and supporting their self-directed efforts through an array of resources. The purpose of this post, beyond clarifying some how social media-driven and self-directed teacher professional development might work, is to offer some (mostly) concrete ideas for actually getting started designing such a program in your school or district. We would love to hear any suggestions in the comments because, well, that’d be social of you. Also, note that none of this precludes national level conferences, on-site PD, and the like. These more central and formal solutions should continue to be powerful PD tools. In fact, a flipped professional development program–one that is self-directed, always-on, and social–could help inform the kinds of conferences and on-site PD most relevant and authentic to your local circumstances. How To Help Teachers Create Their Own Professional Development 1. Establish a compelling big idea –then stick to it This can be thought of as a mission or theme, but it’s really more of a tone and purpose. One example could be “To help teachers create always-on development that connects them with networks and builds on their natural strengths and interests.” Then–and this is the critical part–refer back to that constantly as you make decisions that might impact the program. This is your lighthouse. You can revise this big idea as necessary, but be careful not to drift too far away from it or you will end up right back where you started: one size fits all, top-down, corporate-driven garbage that almost everyone on your staff despises no matter how much they smile. 2. Set the ground rules You could probably call this a policy, but it’s the non-policy policy—just some basic rules and a common language to make sure everyone is starting and finishing at the same point. Here you should explain how training will be qualified and quantified–or if it will be qualified or quantified. Also, you’ll emphasize the big idea so it’s crystal-clear—personalizing educator training through self-directed and social media-based professional development. Flexibility and innovation here matter more than uniformity 3. Diversify professional development sources This is the anti-program program. Less about experts and more about staff capacity. To achieve a self-sustaining, always-on program, the program has to be turned over to the teachers through dozens of sources, from books and district resources to blogging and social media. And not all teachers will be chomping at the bit to hop on twitter to beat the bushes—so give them somewhere to start. Maybe a challenge during a staff meeting: Find five apps for struggling readers, a book, two articles on better literacy, and a streaming webinar…bonus if you can find a literacy framework that can make sense of it all. Then find an elegant way to curate and share it all with the school (that is not blocked by our district filter) 4. Create a pilot or template that works for teachers Pilot it in one department or grade level at first to work out the bugs, the factors you didn’t consider, and to better understand how it might work yourself. You may find this new open approach to PD confuses folks, and that’s okay. Simply go back to steps one and two. 5. Connect teachers Connect teachers from different schools or districts—even in different states or countries—to not only improve the diversity of resources, but naturally expand professional learning networks in the process. These connections will catalyze the effort as you move on. Relationships and curiosity will take a teacher further than a policy or minimal requirement. The point of this whole thing is staff capacity, not corrective training. 6. Focus on student learning When evaluating efforts, offering training, or discussing the process one on one, focus on the effects of the content rather than the medium or the source. The idea here hasn’t changed—improved learning for students via improved teacher efficacy. The whole point is the “stuff”–strategies, tools, and thinking–that ends up in instructional design, curriculum, assessment, classrooms, teacher-student interactions, and ultimately “student achievement.” This, then, should be the focus of the program, not social media or meeting minimum requirements. 7. Celebrate teacher strengths & interests Teachers need to see themselves as craftspersons–skilled and passionate professionals who are all exceptional somewhere. Strengths could be collaboration with colleagues, assessment design, classroom management, curriculum development, or other traditional educational pillars. But they also might be character-driven artifacts as well–flexibility, creativity, service attitude, and so on. How? Have them describe one another. Use team-building games that make it okay to brag. Promote reflection and metacognition. Provide a template they can “fill in” that helps them see what they do, when they do it, and why. Then highlight any talents, share them out, and celebrate them. This maybe should come a bit earlier–or be visible at every step. Traditional PD focuses on correcting weaknesses. Certainly teachers need to continue to train themselves to close gaps in their ability to lead students to learning. But building a program around weakness and deficiency doesn’t do much to rally the troops–and isn’t sustainable in an always-on, self-directed approach. 8. Plan to iterate Whatever you do the first year will be a trainwreck (compared to the nice and tidy sit-and-get PD). So from the beginning, everyone should be aware that it’s all a work in progress—just like the profession itself. Perhaps the greatest potential here is in the chance to personalize professional development for teachers. The above ideas are too vague to be considered an exact guide, but an “exact guide” really isn’t possible without ending up with something as top-heavy and standardized as the process it seeks to replace–or at least supplement. Instead focus on the big ideas–personalizing educator training through self-directed and social media-based professional development. Image attribution flickr user stevegarfield
The evidence for practising gratitude techniques is now truly compellingWhen you hold feelings of thankfulness for at least 15 to 20 seconds, beneficial physiological changes take place in your body. Levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine decrease, producing a cascade of beneficial metabolic changes. Coronary arteries relax and increase the blood supply to your heart. Your breathing becomes deeper, raising the oxygen level of your tissues.
Gratitude has been the “forgotten factor” in happiness research and scientists are latecomers to the concept of gratitude.
The evidence for employing gratitude techniques to improve individual and collective well being is now truly compelling! Simply saying thank you and meaning it is makes a difference for students. A teacher who is genuinely grateful may be the only person who shows that to their students.
Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning -- and addressing the possibility of failure.
There’s no cybersecurity silver bullet. Be risk-based. Pick low hanging fruit. We’ve all heard lots of clichés about what it means to—here are some more—be cyber aware, keep a clean machine, even Stop.Think.Connect. The bottom line is that protecting online resources and information is difficult, it’s new and it’s rapidly changing. Compared with other science and engineering disciplines, getting things done digitally is in its infancy. Relative to how long we’ve been building things like finely crafted bridges (think Roman aqueducts), protecting networks, computers and mobile devices is a brand new phenomenon. We’re making great progress, but in many ways we’re just starting to understand the environment … all while it keeps changing before our eyes.
An intelligence question is a question about something that is important to your success or failure but is outside your control. An operational questions is about something that is important to your success or failure but is under your control.
Higher-order thinking takes thinking to a whole new level. Students using it are understanding higher levels rather than just memorizing math facts. They would have to understand the facts, infer them, and connect them to other concepts.
Here are 10 teaching strategies to enhance higher-order thinking skills in your students
Watch children, youth, and even adults when they are immersed in learning something of interest of them, and you will see often complete engagement and personal joy. When education is done “right”, learners often feel and experience the following in their both formal and informal educational environments:
* Joy * Engaged * Excited * Wonderment * Intrinsically Motivated * Creative * Accomplishment and Pride (in themselves and in their work) * Connected (to the content, to other learners, to experts) * Purposeful * Important * Valued
All of these feelings described above are often experienced as part of a FLOW state. The characteristics of “Flow” according to its originator and researcher, Czikszentmihalyi, are:
* Completely involved, focused, concentrating – with this either due to innate curiosity or as the result of training * Sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality * Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done and how well it is going * Knowing the activity is doable – that the skills are adequate, and neither anxious or bored * Sense of serenity * Timeliness – thoroughly focused on present, don’t notice time passing * Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces “flow” becomes its own reward."
7 Tips to Create an Amazing Design Resume Infographic Your resume is not just a tool to state your qualifications but it also gives you an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. This is even more important for a design resume.
Via Chris Carter, Bonnie Bracey Sutton
STEPHANIE VOZZA 03.21.16 5:56 AM Some people are born leaders, but that doesn’t mean they want to step into management roles at work. Just one-third of employees believe becoming a manager will advance their career, according to a survey by staffing consultants Addison Group. And while millennials have a slightly more positive view of professional leadership roles, just one in five say they would consider leaving a company that didn’t provide an opportunity to be a manager. So how can companies encourage more employees to climb the leadership ladder? "It’s important that organizations highlight the value of leadership and collaboration not just for the advancement of the company, but as a key trait of personal and professional development," says Addison Group CEO Thomas B. Moran. "One that will deepen workers’ career success." While moving into a management role might be a good career move, it needs to be a good fit for you. Here are six signs that you might be management material: 1. YOU’RE GOOD AT BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS "You cannot be a leader unless people are willing to follow you," says Laura M. Graves, professor of management at Clark University. "To have followers, you need to be skilled at developing and maintaining relationships." That means getting along and working well with people from diverse backgrounds, adds John Addison, author of Real Leadership: 9 Simple Practices for Leading and Living with Purpose. "In the digital world we live in today, it is extremely easy for everyone to live in their own bubble where their only connection to people is through a screen," he says. "It’s important, therefore, to get involved in social networking activities and events, but also in real life; to actually physically be around and interact with others." 2. YOU’RE APPROACHABLE Employees of approachable bosses are less likely to quit and more likely to engage in "above-and-beyond" behavior at work, says Phillip Wilson, president of the Labor Relations Institute. Approachable bosses listen to and respect their employees, acknowledge the contributions of others, and create an open-door policy. "If you're approachable you'll be a successful leader. If you're unapproachable over the long run you will fail," he says. 3. YOU LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE The lens through which you view your work is important to being a good manager. "Do you see everything from the narrow perspective of your job or are you able to take a broader perspective on things?" asks Graves. "To manage, you need to be able to see the big picture; how the pieces of the organization fit together, and how a change in one area will affect another." 4. YOU THINK STRATEGICALLY Ultimately, managers are in a position to develop and implement strategy, and if you have not managed before, you may have limited experience with strategic thinking, says Graves. "You should understand the environment inside and outside of the organization," she says. "You must also have problem-solving and decision-making skills. You need skills in problem identification and analysis, and must be able to generate and evaluate solutions." 5. YOU CAN CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR Leaders often think that they have to know it all, but in reality, the people you manage often know more about their jobs than the leader does. "Listening for true understanding is important; it will save you a lot of trouble," says Katina Sawyer, assistant professor of psychology and graduate programs in human resource development at Villanova University. A manager’s focus should be on what’s best for the company. "Truly great managers recognize that the team's success is also their success," she says. "Focusing on leaving behind a better team than you found is important, but the leader needs to be comfortable with letting other people shine for this to work." 6. YOU HAVE A PROVEN TRACK RECORD OF RESULTS To be a good manager, you need to have demonstrated a specialist skill set or expertise in a given area, says Mindy Mackenzie, author of The Courage Solution: The Power of Truth Telling with Your Boss, Peers, and Team. "You should put in discretionary effort at your own expense at times to get the job done, and have a desire to make a bigger difference in the organization," she says. "When credibility, competence, and aspiration are all evident, the odds of the person successfully transitioning from an individual contributor into a management role are greatly increased."
These Videos Explore Ideas and Techniques and Offer Real World Examples That can Help Inspire a Self-Directed Learning Mindset in Your Students Just about anyone working in education sees Self-Directed Learning as a hugely desirable outcome.
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