When Ed Directions was in its infancy and studying research about how adults and students learn we were intrigued by research that spoke to the need for adults to have time to reflect on what they had done that school year, and what they were going to do in the next. As result, we tried to build reflection time into our workshops and our coaching projects (time for individual and collective reflection).
In some cases this was “free” reflection and other times it was “directed” reflection, but in all cases it was designed to engage academic leaders and teachers in activating the imaging centers of the brain as well as the evaluative centers of the brain. Ed Directions coaches and trainers use the reflection activities as prequels to data collection, goal setting, and planning.
In working through this process with teachers, Ed Directions coaches use a procedure that takes teachers from general reflection on the year, through a more targeted and data related reflection, and finally through an in-depth analysis of the impact that school year’s work had on students as learners and performers. The tool set below there are three steps:
Step One – teachers are asked to reflect on the year and compare them to the goals that were set. Then they are asked to pick their best unit and least effective unit and explain why they think the one unit was the best and identify what was wrong or what happened in the other.
Step Two – teachers are asked to use the End of Year Unit Review Tool (below) to begin a more structured evaluation of their course plan
EOY Unit Review
|Unit #||Subject or Focus||Duration and Number of Lessons||Number of Students Passing the Unit Test||Rank Order from Most Effective to Least||Questions/ Notes|
This “guided” reflection activity (done in an individual or a pair/share activity) stimulates teacher thinking about including student success as an indicator of effectiveness in unit analysis and identify unit plans that may need attention and revision. The activity can end at this point or can be followed up with a deeper probe.
Note: this activity will be an important activity for teachers involved in virtual, hybrid or individual instructional settings during this period of the pandemic and can produce initial data that can lead to improve practice for both teachers and students.
Step Three – in schools where Ed Directions coaches are engaged in year-long coaching/mentoring, schools are encouraged to build “data rooms” that include samples of student learning and student assessment work. When this is available, teachers can examine the actual student learning work and quizzes/tests that the student produced in each unit, and begin the process of identifying the point of, and the cause of, breakdown in unit work that was below expectation or below student potential. The tools for this level of analysis is an important part of the development of diagnostic profiles on students and will be addressed in a future blog.
This tool is part of a larger tool set provided as a free download from the book, Turning Around Turnaround Schools, Volume 2 – Embracing the Rhythm of the Learner Year. The full list of free tools can be found here.