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Showing posts from September, 2019

6 Ways to Improve Professional Learning

No matter your position in education, you have gone through some form of professional development. In many cases, the act of being “developed” comes in a variety of standard types such as workshops, mandated PD days, presentations, conferences, book studies, or keynotes. Many of these are often the one and done variety or conducted in a drive-by manner. Now, don’t get me wrong; some educators find value in the experiences I have outlined above and have gone on to change their respective practice for the better. However, I would say an equal amount have found little to no benefit. The bottom line is that all educators yearn for quality professional learning as opposed to development that leads to sustained improvements in teaching, learning, and leadership. The image below from Katie Martin sums up nicely what educators want out of professional learning. 


Image Credit
So where is the disconnect when looking at the typical professional development offerings? Some recent research provides …

Opening Lessons With a Bang

It seems like ages ago that I was taking courses to become a teacher at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. My professors were huge proponents of the Instructional Theory into Practice (ITIP) model developed by Madeline Hunter. Thus, once I had a classroom of my own, I implemented what I was taught to create effective lessons. Virtually all of the facets of the ITIP model still have value today, although by no means do all seven steps have to be a part of every lesson. I will say though, that in addition to closure, the inclusion of an anticipatory set is of utmost importance. Below is a description of the strategy:
Anticipatory set is used to prepare students for the lesson by setting the students' minds for instruction. This is achieved by asking a question or making statements to pique interest, create mental images, review information, focus student attention, and initiate the learning process. 

The first couple minutes of every lesson is critical to its success, and a …

Bringing Out the Best in Others

It’s no secret that great cultures bring out the best in people and in turn, this leads to systemwide success. Success is a fickle thing, though. There might be specific indicators that are used to quantify whether an organization is good or even great, but there is no set recipe that I know of as to how to accomplish this feat. What I do know is that it is not the result of one person or department. When change happens and leads to improved outcomes, it is the result of the collective. One person, however, can be the catalyst for this type of change through a variety of strategies that empower the masses to be more than they feel they can be. Lolly Daskal outlines eight realistic ways to bring out the best in people you either work with or serve.

Appraise them carefullyModel the wayBelieve in their successProvide feedbackGive them powerOffer public praiseGive autonomyLead from within

The above advice is spot on and can serve both teachers with their students and administrators with the…

10 Ways to Empower Educators

What motivates you to be your best, take risks, and seek out opportunities to improve?  I’d be willing to wager that there are an array of responses you would give to this question. As such, I am going to try to sum it all up with one word or concept, depending on how you look at the actions that create this feeling.  Empowerment is the secret sauce.  I genuinely believe that you get more out of people by building them up as opposed to knocking them down. I love the following quote from Laura Garnett:
Leadership is shifting from telling everyone what to do to empowering others to come up with the best and brightest ideas that have either never been thought of before or implemented and acted upon in a respective environment. It’s about caring for and instilling a sense of belief in others that leads to greater confidence in one’s abilities as well as the place where he/she works or learns. This is how you empower people to be their best.Empowerment isn’t just about making people feel go…

It Won't Work...Or Will It?

When we look at various aspects of society, there is always an innate desire to improve through innovation. However, there seems always to be impediments to this process. Perhaps it is the little voice in your head that says any new idea or strategy is a waste of time, as it has no chance to succeed. Maybe it is the collective voices of colleagues pushing you to abide by the status quo and not rock the boat. Throw in fear, complacency, or a myriad of other excuses and the pursuit of innovative practices either wane or never transpires. You will never know what could have been if you don’t take the chance to try something new. Don’t just take my word for it. Check out all of the innovations that people thought wouldn’t work below.




Pretty interesting right? At one point, all of the ideas above were deemed crazy or doomed to fail. Each has been a disruptive force that has changed how people watch movies, book hotels, listen to music, access information, get assistance, store files, or get…