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Focus on Essentials (September ASCD Review)

This quote by Education Leadership expert Michael Schmoker from the September Education Leadership (ASCD) caught my eye and I needed to share with you, Poor instructional practices amount to "hundreds of hours of wasted class time" every year in the great majority of schools. 

Click here to read the full article. 

Schmoker points out three key competencies teachers must master in order to ensure school performance is moving in a positive direction for all students:

1. Clear, Coherent, Curriculum: I recall one time asking a leadership team what was the school's curriculum. Of the five leaders in the room, I received four different answers. "If you all are not clear, how would the 30 teachers in charge of disseminating know?" The first question know that I ask school leaders when we conduct a walkthrough is, "How will we know what will students be learning today?" On a scale of 1-10, how well can you answer this question?

2. Sound Instruction: Schmoker shares that every teacher should have in-depth training in following instructional elements:

  • Write clear and friendly learning targets.
  • Employ simple procedures that ensure all students are ready to learn.
  • Develop a compelling introduction for each lesson (one to two minute pitch to capture attention).
  • Develop explicit, step by step instructions: Model (I do), Collaborate (We Do), Monitor and Coach (You do)
  • Circulate: To me this is the key to effective classroom management, motivation and mastery. If your teachers are not moving around, identifying where students are making mistakes, the battle is lost. 

3. Authentic Literacy (Reading, Discussion and Writing) I once worked with an underperforming school and the first grade teacher we were providing assistance to said, "I hate reading." How are you ensuring as a school leader that every teacher is receiving the training and support to move past their self-limiting beliefs? 

Training cannot only occur just during the inservice days. It must be an intentional series of individual, small and large group development sessions that not only include high quality training (led by an expert) but include opportunities for reflection and practice. 

A goal without a plan is simply a wish. If you do not have a plan our team is ready to help you take that next step check out these sessions I led last year on the three questions to a high performing academic plan. 

Schedule a 15 minute session today. If I cannot help you, I will find someone who will. Click here to talk

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