School Systems that Learn- Paul Ash

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School Systems that Learn- Paul Ash

  1. 1. School Systems That Learn Improving Professional Practice, Overcoming Limitations, and Diffusing Innovation January 29, 2014 Paul B. Ash pash@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us 1
  2. 2. Think About… Why do achievement gaps exist even in well-funded school districts? 2
  3. 3. Think About… Why do achievement gaps exist even in well-funded school districts? It’s not possible to close them. The district needs to find “just the right initiatives.” The district has reached its maximum capacity. 3
  4. 4. Our Hypothesis… The district has reached its maximum capacity. 4
  5. 5. Limitations to School Change and Capacity Building 1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  Laws and regulations Mindsets and limiting beliefs Standardization (vs. differentiation) Isolation (as opposed to collaboration) A narrow view of professional development 6.  Viewing teaching and student learning as separate acts
  6. 6. Strategies That WON’T Close Achievement Gaps OR Build Capacity • Fire all underperformers •  Hire more outstanding teachers •  Increase teacher evaluation
  7. 7. The 4 Effective Drivers of + Change •  The Importance of Trust •  Collaboration in All Directions •  Capacity Building for All Educators •  Leaders at All Levels 7
  8. 8. Synergy of the Four Drivers
  9. 9. Synergy When all four drivers are present at high levels, the system catalyzes an increase in educator capacity, professional practice, and student performance.
  10. 10. Overarching Theory When a school system learns, continuous improvement enables educators to close achievement gaps and ensures that all students grow and develop as learners.
  11. 11. Appreciation of a System 11
  12. 12. Systems Approach “Every system is perfectly designed to achieve exactly the results it gets”. Paul Batalden Dartmouth Medical School Director, Based on a quote from W. Edward Deming (1990) 12
  13. 13. The Importance of Trust 13
  14. 14. Vulnerability Trust Patrick Lencioni “The Importance of Trust” Video from World of Business Ideas http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=gwj9bMLiV4E 14
  15. 15. Five Big Fears (Students) •  •  •  •  •  Fear Of Making Mistakes Fear Of Looking Like A Fool Fear Of Having A Weakness Exposed Fear Of Not Being Liked Fear Of Failure 15
  16. 16. Six Big Fears (Educators) •  •  •  •  •  •  Fear Of Making Mistakes Fear That Errors Will Erase Prior Success Fear Of Having A Weakness Exposed Fear That Asking For Assistance Will Diminish Respect Fear Of Looking Like A Novice Fear of Conflict 16
  17. 17. Psychological Safety To gain the power of collaboration and continuous learning, psychological safety is needed. 17
  18. 18. Signs of Psychological Safety* Educators can disagree with peers and authority figures, ask naïve questions, own up to mistakes, or present a minority view without fear of ridicule or marginalization. *Edmondson 18
  19. 19. In Your Experience… What percentage of the teams that you have observed demonstrated signs of psychological safety? 19
  20. 20. Capacity Building 20
  21. 21. Research Professional development can have a positive impact on student learning •  Meiers & Ingvarson (2005) – Australia study •  Supovitz (2001) •  Garet et al (2001)
  22. 22. Traditional Model of Professional Development After school courses – Teachers select courses based on their individual needs, rather than choosing courses based on district/school needs. During school PD – Programs are usually no more than a few hours to a few days/year, and often not aligned with school or district goals.
  23. 23. A New Systemic Model of PD Five Streams that Improve Educator Capacity to Improve Student Learning: •  Data Teams Analyze Student Work •  Frequent Quality Feedback from Supervisors •  External Sources of Knowledge •  Internal Sources of Knowledge •  Self-Reflection
  24. 24. 3 Qualities of Effective PD •  The district has clear learning goals for every student and growth mindset for all educators and students? •  The district frequently assesses student progress toward their learning goals? •  The school district has an ongoing system of professional learning for all educators that is designed to increase performance
  25. 25. Key Findings Successful programs include: • Avoiding narrow outcomes to easily measured topics • Opportunities for teacher reflection, collaboration, and building professional community • Focus on subject matter learning • 14 to 49 hours of learning time with follow-up, active learning, feedback, and collaboration
  26. 26. A New Model High quality professional learning is coherent, consistent, systemic, and sustained.
  27. 27. Poll: Which intervention has the largest effect size? Lowering pupil-teacher ratios Increasing teacher salaries Increasing teacher experience Increasing teacher education
  28. 28. Providing Adequate Funding Greenwald, Hedges, and Laine, 1996
  29. 29. Questions 30
  30. 30. In Summary • School systems are designed not to change (6 limitations) • Just adding more and more initiatives will have limited impact on student learning • All systems have a maximum capacity 31
  31. 31. Four High-leverage Strategies We increase educator and student learning by: • Increasing Trust • Building individual and collective capacity • Building leadership at all levels • Collaborating in all directions 32

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