Fellowship Project: Angela Stockman WYN Education Associates
I have to choose my words carefully here because assessment is vital, but not when the assessment overrides teaching. I’m seeing teachers sitting at tables individually assessing students for long periods of time during what I think should be ‘on the feet’, small group and whole class instruction time. The assessment looks impressive, but is it really? Is the assessment driving learning or is it all about where the student is?
Assessment drives teaching (absolutely) but is everything we are assessing necessary? I know it’s not! However, having said this, what are the crucial ‘clicks’ which move a student from one stage to the next? I have ideas and hunches but I need to validate these using the grounded research methodology which I’m learning about now.
I do feel that when we educators discover something new we can overuse it and in doing so take away the power of the tool and overwhelm ourselves in the classroom.
As you would understand current research on the Six Shifts in Teaching and Learning recognises there are key shifts (clicks) in student learning are directly influenced by the curriculum. These shifts are vital for teaching and need to be transparent to all stakeholders. This is where my thinking began.
We know a strong focus on improving instruction has a direct impact upon student achievement. Yes!
Professional development and quality teaching and learning will lift whole school data at all levels and individual student achievement. Yes!
Reflective teacher practices include the need for me to be aware of weaknesses in my teaching and I need to reflect and work with others to target specific areas which will improve instruction. Yes!
My reflective practices have made me aware of my current practice and areas for improvement. I know what I don’t know! Therefore, I need to plan opportunities to gain understanding of specific best practices and the ‘clicks’ which drive are ‘for learning’ and ‘as learning’. We know that teachers who intervene at the level of the individual student and develop processes and structures to enhance learning opportunities will improve student learning. Yes!
- builds knowledge through content
- will be grounded in evidence
- provides regular practice
- will focus where the Standards focus
- has coherence
- has rigor
Having said all this are continuums:-
- for learning – providing feedback to inform the next stage of learning?
- of learning – providing information about what students have learnt?
- as learning – providing opportunities to support future learning?
How can I improve the continuums I am using so their use has a direct and improved impact on student learning?