Most educational materials that address feedback are technical in nature and focus on process and procedures. For example, teachers are typically reminded to ask open-ended questions and to provide a strength and a growth area when delivering feedback. They are encouraged to keep notes so they can follow up with students and track conversations over time. What's often left out, overlooked or underestimated are the relationships and dynamics that exist between teacher and students, and between teachers and peers, and the impact that has on the feedback and educational process. The sessions in this module take a deeper look at current research and the intricacy of human interactions that play out in the feedback process, with the hope that teachers will have a better understanding of how to become more sensitive and intentional in creating conditions that will allow for feedback to be effectively received and acted upon.
ADVANCED STUDENT ASSESSMENT:
Teachers report spending a significant amount of time assessing and evaluating student learning with much of it focused on grading and the creation and implementation of classroom assessments. Given the centrality of this activity to teachers' work, this NAATE Module explores some of the more nuanced areas of assessment. By design, the module steers away from 'data-driven instruction' in the traditional sense, and instead focuses on areas of practice such as grading, formative assessment methods and student feedback. While these practices are foundational to daily practice, they typically get minimal attention in teacher training and professional development programs.
For students to be the drivers of their own learning, they need a rich set of what are referred to as 'metacognitive skills.' Metacognition is defined as, 'awareness or knowledge of one's own thinking,' and 'thinking about thinking,' a definition that encompasses a wide range of concepts and competencies, that break out into two categories: knowledge and regulation according to Ann Brown, one of the early researchers in metacognition. These competencies include self knowledge, content knowledge, procedural knowledge and the capacity to engage in self-reflection, self-regulation, planning, modifying, assessing, and revising. Each of these capacities has a corresponding set of required skills. Metacognition has been shown to play a critical role in student performance, both for children and adults. Metacognitive strategies can be taught even to very young children, enabling them to learn how to plan, manage their time, predict outcomes, activate background knowledge, and set goals. The objectives of this module include: an overview and introduction to metacognition and its associated skills and competencies, as well as an exploration of related topics including student self-efficacy, self-regulation and goal setting. This Metacognition Module straddles two other NAATE Modules: Advanced Student Assessment and Critical Thinking & Reasoning. While metacognition is most often thought of as a cognitive construct many of the related topics (e.g., self-efficacy, self-regulation, goal setting) include both a cognitive and affective dimension.
CRITICAL THINKING & REASONING:
As a key skill necessary for college and life goals, the idea of teaching critical thinking is ubiquitous across schools today. However, many teachers and schools are unclear about why or how this can manifest with purpose in their classrooms. These sessions take a deeper look at teaching critical thinking in our classrooms today with the goal that teachers will have a better understanding of not only why teaching critical thinking is so important but also what it might look like in their own classrooms.
PEDAGOGICAL CONTENT KNOWLEDGE:
By any measure, teaching is a complex profession requiring knowledge and skills across a broad range of disciplines in order to effectively move student learning. Despite the famous George Bernard Shaw line from his play, Man and Superman, 'Those who can, do; those who can't teach,' educators need to know as much as 'those who do,' as well as how to teach. What distinguishes an educator from other professionals is her/his ability not only to know deeply the subject matter, but to know the intricacies of how to effectively prepare for and deliver learning activities, and to do all of that within the context of a range of different student needs, curricular choices, standards, and school and community contexts.This module will explore the components of pedagogical content knowledge and what separates the good teachers from the really great teachers, in terms of the different bases of knowledge required and acquired through years of practice.
SUPPORTING & LEADING
Foundational to all our work in organizations and groups is our ability to effectively communicate and productively interact with other individuals. The skills and understandings that make for good and effective communications apply equally in our personal and professional lives. In everyday personal and professional person-to-person interactions, we use a range of mechanisms to communicate in formal and informal settings. One-on-one conversations, small group meetings, email, phone, text, Twitter, and Instagram, all constitute examples of interpersonal communications. We express our points-of-view, inputs, ideas, wishes, needs and decisions, pleasures and displeasures, while receiving those same messages from friends, family, co-workers, colleagues and others.This module will present a series of discussions, readings, and exercises that address different facets of the interpersonal communications/interpersonal dynamics arena.
Educators often serve in formal and informal leadership roles, but far too often receive little formal training, preparation or support. This module is designed to introduce educators to themes in leadership so that they may reflect on their own approach to leadership and explore different models of leadership and leadership attributes. Exposure to the basic concepts and range of models embodied in the field of leadership is a good starting point for forging an understanding of what leadership means for specific individuals in specific organizational settings. First year teachers, experienced teacher leaders and school principals will each have very different stances regarding their own relationship to leadership concepts. The first session in this Module explores basic ideas and principles related to leadership. The second session focuses on teachers as leaders, while the third session is dedicated to exploring the principles of collective leadership, shifting the idea of leadership from an individual concept to an organizational one.
Much of educators' work in schools is conducted as individuals. This is a very efficient mode of working to accomplish assigned tasks and complete required work in the service of the school and its students and other stakeholders. When the needs of the organization require multiple individuals to work together, an added layer of complexity and coordination emerges. In our modern vernacular, such groupings of individuals working together are almost always labeled as 'teams.' The purpose of the sessions in this module is to provide participants with a more detailed understanding of the broad category of working groups and the narrower category of teaming. Structures, the role of goals in deciding structures, processes, group dynamics, and other topics will prepare participants for making informed decisions about how to take advantage of groups of co-workers working together. This module will explore different group structures, when teams make sense, what comprises successful teamwork, how to create the right conditions for effective teams and how to dig out when teams go awry.
Organizational effectiveness is achieved through a variety of planning, design and execution elements. High functioning organizations are positioned to meet or exceed their stated objectives. Low functioning organizations are often beset by challenges, missed expectations, depleted morale and staff turnover. Before an organization can devote itself to high performance, there are a number of foundational steps, concepts and principles that should be attended to. If the staff of an organization demonstrates strong interpersonal dynamics, an understanding of and coherence around leadership, and high quality group work, from a human resource perspective, it will be well positioned to achieve high performance on the whole. Without these foundational activities in place, the coordination, communication and collaboration that are the hallmarks of high performance, are unlikely to be visible. The topics of leadership, teaming and interpersonal dynamics are covered elsewhere in the NAATE program. This Module is devoted to exploring the multiple facets of organizational effectiveness, including vision and goal setting, organizational structure and design, group culture and dynamics, and managing change. Developing an understanding of the interplay of these elements will help prepare organizations for successful execution of their stated goals.
In schools with ambitious performance plans, educators are consistently asked to learn new things, from specific classroom techniques to new conceptual approaches. Change is constant. Depending on whether it is skills, attitudes or behaviors at the heart of the learning, the best methods for learning shift. Quite often, the most effective professional development for school-based personnel is conducted by experienced educators on staff who know the personalities, objectives and context intimately. The more educators know about adult learning and the range of approaches and techniques available to them, the more effective professional development can be for the entire staff of a school. This module exposes participants to some basic principles of adult learning and provides a framework to guide participants, as they select methods and approaches tailored to the learning objectives they are wrestling with.