Brad Ermeling alerted me to this blog posting
by Daniel Markovitz in the Harvard Business Review
Markovitz points out several potential dangers of so called “stretch goals” including sapping motivation, fostering unethical behavior, and encouraging excessive risk-taking.
Better, he argues, to set reasonable goals and focus on process improvement. Process improvement refers to what is required to achieve goals, sometimes referred to as opening the “black box” to see how something works in order to make it work better.
He closed the blog with two sentences written for a business and industrial audience that could also be addressed to education, medicine, and behavioral interventions among others.“The heavy lifting has to be done at the outset — a deep understanding of the current condition is a prerequisite for true improvement. This approach also requires a subtle — but critical — shift in focus from improving outcome metrics to improving the process by which those outcomes are achieved.”
Education reformers and policymakers are now engaged in a great debate about the value of standards and assessment. Once in a while someone alludes to Markovitz’s point that settings standards and developing outcome metrics accomplish little unless the mediating process is examined and improved. In education that mediating process is what transpires in classrooms. Teaching that provides effective learning opportunities for students.
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.
Click 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.
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.
In 2003, Hank Bias called me asking about films of Coach Wooden teaching on the practice court. Hank was and still is head basketball coach. He coaches the Fairmont High’s Fairmont Firebirds of Kettering, Ohio. When he called, the team had lost 17 games, winning only 3, and Hank was thinking of leaving coaching. He called because he’d read an article Roland Tharp and I wrote about John Wooden’s teaching practices. Hank wanted films so he could learn to be a better teacher of basketball. I had made digital copies of old films Coach Wooden gave me, but I told Hank he’d have to call Coach Wooden to get permission to get copies. After some hesitation, Hank phoned Wooden who invited him out to California to talk about teaching. That began a story that some describe as “too Hollywood” to be true. But it is true, and what happened in the following years is quite a story. For ten years, beginning in 2003, I tracked Hank’s progress, visiting him twice, interviewing him in person and on the phone, and keeping up an email correspondence. Our research team recently published the first of several articles on Hank’s story. This first article describes how Hank learned to apply Wooden’s approach to steadily, continually improving his teaching, and the effects it had on him and his team. Read more about Hank and Coach Wooden: click here.