Monday, November 22, 2010

Research + Classroom Application = Real Ed Reform

This post is for National Day of Blogging for Real Education Reform.  If you would like to see more submissions here is the site they are posted at Cooperative Catalyst

I think we all agree that it’s about the kids… education reform needs to have a positive impact on the lives of the kids we are privileged and responsible to educate.  When I read or hear about different education reform models that schools and districts have tried I find myself asking the same question every time. Why did they try that? Is there research to indicate that method might work to enhance student learning?  Have education practitioners been allowed to adapt that model to what works best in their own class because it has its own unique background and needs?

If we implement change based on what research says has the highest impact and allow our teachers to thoughtfully adapt that to meet the needs of their own situation, what would that look like? John Hattie did a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses and he ranked contributors that have the most impact on student learning (Visible Learning 2009).  Educators thoughtfully adapt lessons every day to meet the needs of their students and some blog about it so that we can get a glimpse into their classroom.  Below is a description of each of the top ten contributors that John Hattie discusses as well as examples of teachers that are already adapting those strategies in their classrooms in thoughtful ways.  They have been grouped together by area of influence as opposed to rank order.  This is by no means an all-inclusive list… and I didn’t find examples of every contributor in my blog search .  Please add other examples…

Rank #

Contributions from Teaching Approaches:

# 3          Providing Formative Evaluation
Formative Assessments give feedback to teachers on what is happening in their classroom in relation to learning intentions so they can decide where to head next.

Organizations that  have recently commented on formative assessment.
Leadership and Learning Center wrote ‘Formative Assessment As a Process

#9           Reciprocal Teaching  
The emphasis is on enabling students to learn and use cognitive strategies  supported through dialogue between teacher and student as they attempt to gain meaning from text.

While this isn’t an exact example of ‘recriprocal teaching’, Donna Hurst talks about the ‘buzz in the room’ as students made meaning of art through dialogue with their peers and the teacher in ‘Reverse Instruction

#7           Comprehensive Intervention of Learning Disabled Students
A combined direct instruction and strategy instruction model is the key.

Education Week has a post that discusses a model that includes these steps in ‘In Defense of Incremental Change’

#10         Feedback  Feedback from the student to the teacher within the learning cycle is the most powerful form. 

Mary Beth Herts reflects on the power of feedback in her classroom at Effective Feedback

Contributions from the Teacher:

#4           Micro Teaching
This typically involves student-teachers  conducting lessons to a small group of students and then engaging in a post-discussion about the lessons.  They can be video-taped which allows for an intense under the microscope view of their teaching.

While few teachers undergo this detailed viewing of their own teaching practice, many of us do turn the microscope on our own teaching practice to enhance student learning.  Pernille Ripps’s post 'When Learning Fails…’ is a thoughtful reflection on lesson choices.

#8           Teacher Clarity
It is important for teachers to communicate the intent of the lesson  and the notion of what success looks like for these intentions.

In the post ‘Good Writing Teacher- Almost Always!’ Nancy Hniedziejko discusses what went wrong when she didn’t have clarity and how she became clear.

Contributions from the School:

#5           Acceleration Curricula for Gifted Students
Accelerated students outperform non-accelerated students.

#6           Classroom Behavioral 
The argument is not that students should be removed but that teachers should be taught the skills to ensure unnecessary disruptions.

Andrew Marcinek outlines what he did when he realized his class was not engaged in ‘Ten Simple Strategies for Re-engaging Students’

Contributions from the Student:

#1           Self Reported Grades 
Students perform to the expectations they have of their own ability. 

Jeff Delp discusses the need to not give up on our challenging kids and fill the gap of what is missing for these kids because there is good in every student in his post 'A Soft Heart For Challenging Students'

Chris Wejr discusses seeking the strength in his students in 'Give Them Strength to Grow' (Read the comments- the student he mentioned writes about how lucky he was to have Mr. Wejr in his life)

#2           Piagetian Programs
Knowing the ways that students think and how this thinking may be constrained by their stages of development can help teachers plan their lessons.

So I ask you…  Why should you try this? Is there research to indicate these methods enhance student learning? Have practitioners been allowed to adapt these models to their own context?  And the next step… how can we create a culture where this is the norm?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Deana,

    I think what you've done here with matching research to blog posts is great. I think an issue with research is that it doesn't always trickle down to the classroom level and can seem too distant or detached for regular teachers.

    The great thing about blogs, however, is that they are often written by teachers for teachers and are therefore much more immediate and accessible. The most important thing is to always find ways to adapt ideas, whether from research or fellow teacher's accounts, to your own teaching situation.