High-poverty schools can meet student, professional, and system learning agendas by strengthening instructional framework, targeted interventions, reading proficiency, reflective practice, and data-based inquiry.
Grit expresses the idea that a crucial component of success is people's ability to pick a goal and stick with it. That's the main thrust of research by Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania, which has earned her a MacArthur "genius" grant, national acclaim and, this month, a best-selling book. But a new report suggests that we should all take a step back and chill.
When I was in school, I was just like my students -- totally unmotivated to take any standardized test, simply because I knew those tests were not going to affect my report cards. Therefore, why should I put any effort into them? I was the kid who fake-read the passages and picked the pattern of C,D,A,B,C,D,A,B to answers the multiple-choice questions. For eight years, I've watched my students attempt to do the same. This year was no different -- until hearing the teachers' displaced frustrations made me speak out. I needed them to recognize how these scores are not true indicators of what our kids can do. They can do better. All we have to do is teach them why they should do better. The why lies in activating their intrinsic motivation.
The first thing to keep in mind when managing people is that if you're doing it then you're doing it wrong. You're doing it wrong because you shouldn't be doing it at all. People will not and can not be managed. You manage stuff...
Even the best prepared, most promising first-year teachers face a harsh transition from completing credential programs to becoming solely responsible for an entire class of students for the first time. During their first few days in the classroom, they are bombarded with a variety of situations they had not anticipated, and are often caught off guard.
A few years ago I was forced to look at my leadership differently. I had mastered curriculum review, deployment of initiatives, and leadership oversight, and I knew how to "do school," but I had not heard the student voice about the teaching and learning process in a long time. I don't mean incorporating the student voice in the classroom during instruction—I mean truly trying to see teaching and learning through their eyes. I wondered what their student voice would say.
The other day I asked them, “What do you think teachers need to know? What advice do you think that I could give other teachers about how to improve?” It was an interesting discussion, and I may write about some of those things another time, but eventually, we finished up and moved on with our day. When school finished, one of the girls in my class, approached me once everyone had left and said, “You know, Mr. Schultz, I have been thinking about what you asked us earlier. I think the most important thing teachers need to know is how important it is to get to know their students.”
Now my perspective could be skewed because I've spent the majority of my career working with groups of 100+ students in middle schools, but it seems like most school communications -- grade reports, weekly phone messages, email and/or blog updates, newsletters describing upcoming functions -- are impersonal, designed to deliver one message to a large group of readers. And most of the direct contact that parents DO receive about their children is negative -- phone calls, emails, or notes written in agendas about missing homework, poor grades, or behavior problems. Stew in that for a second. And then ask yourself one simple question: When was the last time that you wrote a positive note or made a positive phone call or sent a positive email to the parents of a student that you work with?
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