Ronald GallimoreEveryone's a teacher to someone (John Wooden)

Pyramid of Teaching Success in sport

Coach John Wooden developed his Pyramid of Success for individuals. Inspired by Wooden, The Pyramid of Teaching Success in Sport is a graphical conception of the qualities of effective coaches. It has been used as a tool in professional development programs for youth sport coaches.
The Pyramid of Teaching Success in Sport was presented and described in a 2010 journal article by Wade Gilbert, Swen Nater, Mark Siwik, and myself. For a PDF of this article, click here.
The Pyramid of Teaching Success in Sport (PofTSS) reflects a conviction that effective coaching is dependent upon teaching success. The PofTSS draws on multiple sources: (a) the authors’ experiences across diverse careers in sport psychology, educational psychology, collegiate and professional sport, coaching, business performance and occupational stress, (b) four decades of coaching research, and (c) first-hand experience studying, playing for, and working with legendary sport coach John Wooden.
The PofTSS includes 15 blocks and 10 pieces of mortar, and focuses coaches on improvement of their teaching skills. This emphasis on self-improvement rather than measuring oneself against the performances of others is consistent with current views on how best to develop human potential across domains.
here for a PDF of the Pyramid of Teaching Success in Sport. The Pyramid is copyrighted by BeLikeCoach and is available for public use to anyone devoted to the improvement of coaching.

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No single number can identify a good school.

Every once in a while a comment comes along that bears repeating.
Many times. This is one: “There is no single number that anyone can look at and say this is a good school or this is a bad school.”
(Dr. Joan Herman, Director, UCLA’s CRESST (National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, & Student Testing).

For more wise words by Joan, click here

I’d add there is no single number that tells who is and who is not a good teacher. If only it was that simple.


Ermeling tells how PLCs can connect the dots

Connect the Dots is the title of a new article by Brad Emeling, published by Learning Forward (formerly the National Staff Development Council), in the Journal of Staff Development (April, 2012, volume 33, No.2). Connect the Dots summarizes what it takes to turn schools or districts into communities of educators learning together how to sustain improvements in student achievement. Connect the Dots provides concrete guidelines to educators who want to convert PLC aspirations into functioning reality. The key, as Brad explains, is not only establishing settings for teacher teams and leaders, but strengthening the connections between settings so that each role group is focused on assisting learning of the next immediate group they directly lead or support. He means district personnel assist principals who assist school leadership teams that assist teacher teams. Each role–group takes ownership for planning for and providing assistance to the learning and productive work of the next immediate group–one month at a time. The result is a coherent system of settings functioning to improve teaching and learning.

Not only has Brad spent a decade+ building learning teams and PLCs in America, he participated in lesson study for 7 years as a teacher and administrator in Japan. As a fluent Japanese speaker he is one of the few America educators with such extensive experience with lesson study. In 2003, Brad joined a research team at UCLA and Stanford that had been researching teacher collaboration and learning teams for more than three decades.
Connect the Dots is based on Brad’s years of experience helping highly challenged schools set up learning teams that get results. The learning teams program he helps direct is based on ideas and concrete guidelines that are direct applications of 40+ years of research by Claude Goldenberg, Bill Saunders, and myself.
Personal point of privilege: The privilege was serving as Brad’s doctoral committee advisor, and as a member of the UCLA/Stanford research team on which
Connect the Dots is based. Brad’s dissertation extended the team’s work for the first time to secondary settings. After finishing his UCLA doctoral program, Dr. Ermeling helped scale the research to districts and schools across the nation.

For a PDF of Brad’s
Connect the Dots, click here.


Slippery slopes of education reform

“Complex, difficult to implement well” is a description that fits many education reforms and innovations. Not only must practitioners accept new goals, to achieve them they often must learn new practices and figure out how to secure durable implementation. A reform that does not improve students’ opportunities to learn is unlikely to succeed. To improve student learning opportunities nearly always means teachers have to change how they teach as well as what they teach. Implementing changes in instruction is lot harder to figure out than many realize when they launch a reform.

As the first year of implementation unfolds, there is a slope on which many slip that might ultimately wreck a reform effort. Gradually, unwittingly the reformers and practitioners begin to adjust their goals. Instead of better learning opportunities and improved student achievement, focus shifts to implementing some feature of the reform. Success gets gradually re-defined as “how much of the reform are we doing every day” instead of how much more are the students learning. The means have become the ends. A means–ends reversal. One of the most common slips is to unwittingly replace the goal of improved learning and achievement with greater use of one of the reform elements

This is one of my favorite examples: Therese, a UCLA graduate student, and I visited a school which was implementing a form of cooperative learning. Everyday during reading instruction, teachers were asked to pair up students to work cooperatively on an assignment. The day we visited the cooperative learning activity involved text comprehension. Therese was an experienced elementary teacher, a warm, approachable personality who seamlessly roved through the classroom, sitting at tables, chatting with students. She asked students how they liked the cooperative learning segment, and got surprising answers reflected in the response of a 4th grade girl: “working together is ok, but it keeps us from getting our work done.” Therese and I thought the girl’s comment revealing since our observations of the cooperative learning segments suggested students carried out the activity in a mechanical and hurried fashion; they were working together but it hardly seemed like the descriptions of “cooperative learning” that the program operators were pursuing.

In a debriefing meeting after our observations, the program operators talked excitedly about how well the cooperative learning was working. At the launch of the reform, they had struggled to stand up the cooperative learning activity. But after much effort, they were pleased with the results. Their evidence focused on how reliably cooperative learning was being incorporated by teachers into lessons and the participation level of the students. When we probed for evidence of improved learning, they offered more anecdotes about participation. Our visit took place in late Spring, after the reform program had been in place for nearly a year. Had these well intended reformers slipped down the slope of a means–ends reversal? Were they forgetting that the original ends was better learning, not increased cooperative learning participation? Perhaps. But this can easily happen when education reformers underestimate how hard it is to fundamentally change teaching practices.

Another example. A truancy reduction program hired as director a young adult from the neighborhood. Kai was once a notorious truant who had turned his life around. Kai’s charismatic personality was attractive to the adolescent boys who were the main focus of the truancy program. A “club house” was created near the school, where the boys could gather. Kai offered counseling, diversion activities, exhortations to return to school, tutoring, and a place to do homework. Participation in the program increased quickly after Kai began work. There were less complaints about the truants in the neighborhood, less hanging around the schoolyard and making trouble. The program operators were pleased, and so was the funding agency. But a brief evaluation suggested that despite these improved participation and less behavioral complaints, the program seemed to have increased the truancy rate of the boys in the program, and also increased the number of truants over all. More boys than before were skipping classes to spend time at the club house. Kai’s personality and the attractions the program offered had certainly increased participation, but at the cost of the original truancy reduction goal. Slipping into a means-ends reversal can be deceptively easy to do.
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