Do teachers know thy impact
Yesterday I wrote about aspiring senior leaders knowing / finding out about their impact, it stems from my coaching relationship with three such aspiring leaders (Job applications – who are you?). In turn, I have been considering thy impact as coach? I then re-read Chris Moyse’s very promising Growing great teachers post and policy documents, essentially calling for a refocus of performance management practice and I not going to argue against him.
We regard professional development as a key driver not only of staff development, but also of recruitment, retention, well-being, and school improvement. There can be no improvement without the teacher. – Growing great teachers.
The post is well worth a read and it essentially calls for teachers to… refocus on themselves, on their own self-responsibility, to know thy impact. So, this post, albeit it out of sync, I published first. Soon to be followed by Job applications – who are you?
With the rise and rise of research informed practice, it is more than applying or adapting the findings to our classroom practice. The other point I draw from my novice coaching experience is, do we understanding and share what we mean by impact and change. Something aspiring leaders will need to align, confirm and check, should they find themselves shortlisted for interview.
1. Do you discuss, in detail, precisely what you want the impact of any changes to be with other teachers?
What do you mean and agree by ‘impact,’ how this can be accurately assessed and what do you expect the change to be? Are students to be included or excluded from your plans?
2. Do you and your line manager have common conception of progress?
More often than not, the change expected is outcome driven. More often than not referenced in terms of “progress.” (Though it could easily be a establishing a routine, promoting a set of behaviours, embedding an approach), This is such murky territory. Are you afforded the opportunity to discuss what progress means with your line manager and have common conception of progress? Let’s hope you do. Or it really is, a non-starter. Apples and oranges.
I must admit, for many years of teaching, I didn’t know the difference between attainment and achievement and I certainly thought you could see and measure progress in a lesson, rapid progress at that. You can’t.
Prompt an off the cuff conversation in the department office, in the staff room, I’d be interested to hear what you learn about the consensus around progress? Or if there even is one.
3. Are you working with educators who believe their main role is to evaluate their impact?
When everyone in a school believes that together they can make a difference, the impact on student attainment can be almost quadrupled (Eells, 2011).
Collective teacher efficacy across the school is a powerful precursor to student success – add to this teachers teaching as a team – can led to even greater student attainment. Yes, context really does make a difference, but possible, not as much as the belief ‘we’ not ‘I’ can make a difference.
4. Do students know what they are learning in your classrooms?
I dare you to double check here and there, with this class and that, but certainly more often than you are currently.
Hattie tells us that many of the students they ask, can at least tell us what they are doing, but few can tell us what they are learning. It is a subtle and yet importance difference. It is such a simple question to ask. Go on, I dare you.
Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement, Routledge. London
Nuthall, G. (2007). The Hidden Lives of Learners. New Zealand Council for Educational Research Press. Wellington