One half of my job this year is being with students in the morning, and then the other half is working with teachers and administrators in our district with the instructional model.
Embracing this model is not about administrating the model, it’s not about managing the model, it’s about leading it.
So often professional development, professional learning, as I’d rather call it, is the dissemination of information from one person to another. It’s the two book ends of the instructional model, without the middle component that’s so important.
Our district is engaging in this district-wide professional development in the instructional model, that follows the work of Doug Fischer and Nancy Fry.
I think that sometimes in our work as teachers and as leaders, we try so hard to make everything so perfect that there aren’t any mistakes, that we end up doing all the work.
The basic premise of the model is that the cognitive load of what we do in any teaching situation has to shift to the learner.
What did you brain have to do in order to arrive at this idea?
What can your instruction look like using this model in your buildings?
I think that’s great, Anne, if you put that out there and say what I just did, put that back into the model.
Now the administrators are completely engaged in the learning because they too are helping to lead it.
How are some ways that you might already be or could envision places in the day where the model might start to exist in new ways for you?
I think of it as a parent, when you’re trying to work with you child on homework, or riding their bike, or whatever it would happen to be, these are the types of things you would do to make that much more effective.
I think it’s really easy to forget that we do have all of these teaching moments all the time.
So they are having to actively as a group kind of figure out how they’re going to deliver this lesson.
We talked about having two tables…
They will talk to their teachers more effectively, more candidly, with a lot more information when talk about how they felt when they were in productive group work mode.
I don’t think we need to, I think we can have that written on the white board.
We also paired an assistant principal, a principal, an administrator, with a member from the professional development team.
I think it would be really wonderful if you chose something not at your grade level. Go for it, off you go!
And so we’ll see these leaders together.
I see this as really powerful, that we start practicing this in various contexts. Staff meetings, coaching conversations… yeah.
And then they also have this independent component. They’re all going to go individually into these classrooms and deliver it.
This is a little bit of a shift, or maybe a bit of a new opportunity is a better way to think of it.
A lot of administrators have a lot of opportunities to lead meetings, a lot of opportunities to be in their classrooms in an evaluative situation, but there aren’t as many opportunities for them to be a teacher, and to find the teaching moments in their days.
This is what our school is doing, and then we’ll draw out of that, where do we need to improve the questioning.
My hope is that this is going to be how we talk about teaching and learning in this district. And that we will have a common language and a common framework in which to talk about some of these deliberate teaching moves.
Because in the focus lesson, there are all of these components, the explicit teaching…
We are all here to make sure that students become autonomous, and we want them in the end to be self-actualized. And we can’t do that if we are doing all the work. Which goes back to the crux of the model, that this is about shifting the cognitive load, that it can’t be the teachers doing all of the work, that we have to support our students enough, give them enough practice, give them enough opportunities to fail, gently, and do it without penalty so they can grow. And when we see teaching and learning in this progressive, recursive way, we give students the chance to become autonomous, and that’s what I want for them ?