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Pei dueling keynote


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Dr. Jim Parsons, a professor at the University of Alberta and director of the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI), and Kelly Harding, associate director for AISI.

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Pei dueling keynote

  1. 1. Research Informed Educational Change:Teacher - Researcher InsightsResearch Forum: University of Prince Edward Island  April 27, 2011Jim Parsons and Kelly Harding Faculty of Education, University of Alberta<br />
  2. 2. Prolegomenon <br />“a formal critical introduction to a lengthy text.”<br />A child draws a teacher<br />
  3. 3.<br />
  4. 4. What does the AISI/Instructional Leadership research inform us? <br />Applied Researchers work with three questions:<br />What? {What is there?}<br />So What? {What does it mean?}<br />Now What? {What should we do?}<br />
  5. 5. Research Base<br />ATA sponsored case studies of five of the best elementary schools – by reputation – in Alberta. <br /> [1] I asked everyone there two questions: (A) What makes this school such a good place for teaching and learning? (B) What does the administration do to make this so?<br /> [2] Gathered data, analyzed, wrote up, and shared the findings.<br />Eleven years of crunching AISI data – 1500 final research reports.<br />Fifty interviews with teachers for Little Bits of Goodness (2011)<br />
  6. 6. Part One: 11 Years of AISI<br />Cycle 4<br />Cycle 3<br />Cycle 2<br />Cycle 1<br />Alberta Initiative for School Improvement<br />
  7. 7. Teacher Engaged Learning<br />Activities: action research, site-based research, teacher professional learning, communities-building, teacher networks<br />Conversations: critical and reflective; research and data informed<br />Resources: technologies, teacher-coaches, time<br />
  8. 8. Student Engaged Learning<br />Activities: inquiry, project-based learning; choices and relevance<br />Conversation: assessment, metacognition, personal interests, community<br />Resources: technologies, peers, relevant and skill/capacity enhancing<br />
  9. 9. Products of Engaged Learning<br />Creative, responsive, and innovative cultures<br />Whole staff leadership capacities<br />Sustainable, purposeful, and value-driven change<br />Student Achievement<br />Educator Career Longevity and Satisfaction <br />
  10. 10. Background Research Findings <br />When 1500 teacher-researcher final research reports…<br />address educational challenges… <br />for over a decade…<br />This is what they’re saying:<br />
  11. 11. Research Finding One: Participatory Learning <br />Project-based, inquiry learning/teaching (assessment for learning, differentiated instruction) promotes student learning.<br />
  12. 12. What is Participatory Student-centered Learning?<br />Relevant and intentionally interdisciplinary – moving from classroom to community.<br />Technology-rich. <br />Positive, challenging, open, risk-encouraging and transparent learning cultures; <br />Collaborative relationships: communities plan, research, develop, share, and implement new research, strategies, and materials.<br />
  13. 13. Research Finding Two: Parental and Community Involvement<br />
  14. 14. Research Finding Three: Tool – Curriculum Alignment (Technology)<br />
  15. 15. Research Finding Four:Teacher Engagement<br />(1) Community <br />(2) Agency<br />(3) Service<br />
  16. 16. Research Finding Five: Talk About YOUR Practice<br />
  17. 17. Research Finding Six: Culture is ‘made’ and ‘maker’<br />The Most Sustainable Changes are Changes in culture<br />(1) isolation to collaboration; <br />(2) hierarchy to shared leadership; and <br />(3) expert-based to inquiry-based. <br />
  18. 18. Research Finding Seven: Horizontal Leadership<br />
  19. 19. Research Finding Eight: Everyone is Empowered<br />
  20. 20. Research Finding Nine: Non-Negotiables for Professional Learning<br />(1)Link teacher and student learning.<br />(2) Keep goals specific and focused.<br />(3) Give change time.<br />(4) Engage in Dialogue - constantly.<br />(5) Build everyone’s knowledge and skills. <br />
  21. 21. Whole School Capacity Building<br />Increased teacher learning greatly impacted student learning. Teacher quality and improved teacher expertise promoted student learning. <br />
  22. 22. Sustainability Connection<br />School-based professional learning was highly effective and had lasting impact when it became connected to innovation and problem-solving. <br />
  23. 23. Create a Shared Vision<br />Professional learning worked best when it was timely, targeted to needs and interests, job-embedded, and when it became a habit that changed culture. <br />
  24. 24. In-house Expertise<br />The success of AISI projects hinged on professional learning. The best professional learning included teachers coaching other teachers. Professional learning contributed to successful AISI projects and grew in response to distributed leadership and growing teacher leadership.<br />
  25. 25. Professional learning aligns with student learning by focusing on: <br />(a) learning and learner needs; <br />(b) high standards;<br />(c) individual and organization change that supports on-going professional learning; <br />(d) small changes guided by a larger vision <br />(e) professional learning embedded in the daily work of educators. <br />
  26. 26. The involvement of principals was key to supporting student learning. Staff ‘bought in’ when leadership grass roots emerged. The importance of establishing shared leadership cannot be overstated. <br />Who’s Responsible? <br />
  27. 27. PART TWO<br />INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP IN ALBERTA: A CASE STUDY OF FIVE HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS<br />Crestwood School, Medicine Hat <br />(We Are Family) <br />West Meadows School, Claresholm <br />(The Power of Big Vision) <br />Acadia School, Calgary <br />(The Complexity of a City) <br />Glenbow School, Cochrane <br />(Strategic Professionalism)<br />Our Lady of the Rosary School, Sylvan Lake<br />(The Little School that Fell from Heaven) <br />
  28. 28. Old Wisdom<br /> “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, the people will say: We did it ourselves.”<br />Chinese Taoist philosopher, Lao Tzu (600 BC – 531 BC) <br />
  29. 29. New Wisdom<br /> “It don't take a whole day to recognize sunshine.” <br />from the Hip Hop album Like Water For Chocolate ["The Light" was the Grammy-nominated second single off Common's 2000 album Like Water for Chocolate.]<br />“The Light” by Common, (2000) <br />
  30. 30. Lessons<br />1) Sometimes the simple things trump everything else – even if that everything else is loaded with all the bells and whistles.<br />2) Just when you think you have it all figured out, you don’t.<br />
  31. 31. The Leadership Literature<br /> I believe there is a poverty in the leadership literature: it is too much about identity and not enough about relationships. <br /> Jim Parsons<br />
  32. 32. Ten Themes<br />1) The Principal is Knowledgeable.<br />2) The Principal is Caring and Safe.<br />3) The Principal Trusts and Respects.<br />4) The Principal is Positive.<br />5) The Principal communicates well.<br />6) The Principal is Disciplined and Decisive.<br />7) The Principal helps build a family/community.<br />8) The Principal has High Expectations.<br />9) The Principal helps us speak the same language.<br />10) The Principal is aware of innovations.<br />
  33. 33. Knowledgeable<br /> Thirst for Knowledge<br />Contained within a single dewdrop tear is a world of education. Mother nature dips her hands into the pool of learning, and as she opens them a mother is revealed bestowing the most precious of gifts to her child – knowledge. The young have a thirst for information which must be fed, and lessons that we learn in youth will map our route through life. <br />
  34. 34. Knowledgeable<br />They teach - take over the classroom for us. <br />They know the kids’ names and backgrounds. You can mention any child’s name and they know the story. <br />They haven’t forgotten what it means to be a teacher.<br />They teach even though they don’t have to. <br />They know how to help when we ask. <br />
  35. 35. Caring and Safe<br />
  36. 36. Caring and Safe<br />They listen, ask, and personally care for us. <br />They are there for us in our personal lives as well as in school. <br />If they care, I feel safe. If I feel safe, then I have the freedom to do what I know is best for kids. <br />Personal issues come with us to school. They understand and help! They demonstrate that I have value as a person. <br />No matter what is happening in life, I can go to them for anything. <br />
  37. 37. Trusts and Respects<br />
  38. 38. Trusts and Respects<br />They trust and respect us, our work, students and parents. <br />We feel valued! <br />They believe in us as teachers. They assume the best. <br />They believe we will do a good job, and we do! <br />I am given freedom to do what I do best. They don’t interfere. <br />We are trusted to do our jobs as we see fit – we are not micro-managed. <br />
  39. 39. Positive<br />
  40. 40. Positive<br />Positive means fun, celebration, a sense of humor, and enthusiasm. <br />They focus on the positive. They look for ways to help students achieve – and don’t use threats. <br />They have high energy! They are confident leaders. <br />They support our emotional needs. We balance academic with affective learning.<br />
  41. 41. Communicates well<br />
  42. 42. Communicates well<br />They communicate openly, honestly, and often. <br />We have good meetings. They follow up with email. <br />They check in often. They talk to the kids. They walk around and engage. <br />They get us information as soon as they know. <br />
  43. 43. Disciplined and Decisive<br />
  44. 44. Disciplined and Decisive<br />They collaborate and consult. <br />They are strong and confident. They are not wishy washy! <br />They get things done! If we have a problem, they attend – now! They go to bat for us. They find the resources we need. <br />They hire the right staff! <br />They are authentic, genuine, confident leaders. What you see is what you get. There is no game playing. <br />
  45. 45. Helps build a family/community<br />
  46. 46. Helps build a family/community<br />A school is a small village - filled with joys and tears. <br />The walls between personal and professional are permeable. <br />We share stories. We share resources. <br />Diversity is allowed. <br />It’s like family; it’s a great place to work. Every staff member cares about each other – we are a family! <br />
  47. 47. High Expectations<br />
  48. 48. High Expectations<br />Leaders are not hesitant to express expectations or goals. <br />They have high academic goals; we expect the best. <br />We strive to do the best for kids. <br />Professional development is expected, encouraged, and supported. <br />They hold us to high standards and we WANT to rise to them. They won’t let you stagnate or bog down. <br />They let us know what’s expected, but they give us leeway about how to practice our craft – it is win/win. <br />
  49. 49. Speaks the same language<br />
  50. 50. Speaks the same language<br />Common vision and goals are shared. <br />We have a shared mission statement that is actually lived. Everyone knows it. <br />We are all about the kids! <br />We have only two goals: (a) learning to read and (b) having fun.<br />
  51. 51. Aware of Innovations<br />
  52. 52. Aware of Innovations<br />Leaders know the “Big Picture” and give us the freedom and encouragement to take risks, innovate, and try new things. <br />They stay up-to-date so we can focus on teaching. <br />They keep us aware. They communicate changes. <br />They make my job easier.<br />
  53. 53. The “Now What?”<br />Pulling together this research, what advice dare we give school principals?<br />What specific actions might they engage?<br />
  54. 54. Specific Actions for Principals <br />#1: Empower teachers. <br />Believe teachers will do a good job and give them space to do it! Assume the best. <br />When teachers need resources – find them. If there is a problem, attend! Provide support, interventions, and resources. <br />Give teachers freedom to take risks, innovate, and try new things. <br />Build hard shell structures with soft, gooey insides.<br />
  55. 55. Specific Actions for Principals <br />#2: Principals – be relevant<br />Spend time “in the classroom.” Teach though you don’t have to. Don’t forget what it means to be a teacher. Offer specific feedback. “It is not flattery when the feedback is specific.”<br />
  56. 56. Specific Actions for Principals <br />#3: Move from professional development opportunities to professional learning cultures. <br />Professional learning is local and led by teachers. Expect, encourage, and support professional learning. <br />Share and create opportunities for teachers to lead. <br />
  57. 57. Specific Actions for Principals <br />#4: Be strong leaders – but move to the background.<br />Do not hesitate to have expectations or set high academic goals. Lead towards doing the best for kids. [The new iconic leader has earned trust and respect – one has to be big to become small].<br />
  58. 58. Specific Actions for Principals <br />#5: Focus on student learning! <br />The one thing everyone agrees on is that teaching is all about “the kids!”<br />
  59. 59. Specific Actions for Principals <br />#6: Establish a culture of belonging. <br />Schools are communities and families - small villages. The wall between personal and professional is permeable. <br />Personal issues come to school. Work together. Support each other. Share stories and resources. [People will love coming to work!]<br />
  60. 60. Specific Actions for Principals <br />#7: Hire the “right staff.” <br />Make the staff you have the “right staff.” <br />
  61. 61. Specific Actions for Principals <br />#8: Celebrate successes. <br />Focus on the positive. Look for ways to help people achieve then celebrate that achievement.<br />
  62. 62. Specific Actions for Principals <br />#9: Build a common vision and goals. <br />Share and live a mission statement.<br />
  63. 63. What NOT TO DO<br />#1: Do not micro-manage<br />
  64. 64. What NOT TO DO<br />#2: Don’t be negative. Hard work does not kill teachers – negativity does!<br />[“They hold us to high standards and we WANT to rise to them.] <br />
  65. 65. What NOT TO DO<br />#3: Don’t be wishy-washy! <br /> Be authentic, genuine, confident leaders. Be forthright. Say what needs to be said. Be collegial, yet decisive. “Make it so!”<br />
  66. 66. The “Now What?”<br />Pulling together ALL this research, what advice dare we offer schools?<br />What specific actions might schools engage?<br />
  67. 67. SPECIFIC ACTIONS<br />#1: Make formative assessment the dominant assessment system and a way of living in classrooms and schools.<br />
  68. 68. SPECIFIC ACTIONS<br />#2: Ask students to talk more about what they have learned: (1) talk more about the content of their learning, (2) talk about what their learning means to them, and (3) talk more about the processes of their learning.<br />
  69. 69. SPECIFIC ACTIONS<br />#3: Concentrate on student learning – not on “achievement.” “Engagement for learning” and “engagement for achievement” are different.<br />
  70. 70. SPECIFIC ACTIONS<br />#4: Move from professional development to professional learning. <br />Professional learning is local and led by teachers. <br />Work together to solve your own problems – ACTION RESEARCH.<br />When teachers work together on real educational issues, positive change happens.<br />
  71. 71. #5: Build a culture of caring. <br />Student engagement is linked directly to relationships. <br />All people flourish from good relationships with caring others. <br />SPECIFIC ACTIONS<br />
  72. 72. SPECIFIC ACTIONS<br />#6: Construct a “learning culture.” <br />When Schools Work Well they build a space conducive for learning. Build positive cultures. <br />
  73. 73. SPECIFIC ACTIONS<br />#7: Expand the classroom past the classroom.<br /> Technology allows students and teachers to engage and share the world – use it! <br />When Schools Worked Well,” technology was a curriculum tool, not a curriculum topic.<br />
  74. 74. SPECIFIC ACTIONS<br />#8: When building curriculum, focus on process and pedagogy not on content. <br />
  75. 75. SPECIFIC ACTIONS<br />#9: Engage in “Conversational Pedagogies.” <br />Assessment for learning, differentiated instruction, and inquiry-based/problem-based learning are key ways to promote student engagement.<br />
  76. 76. SPECIFIC ACTIONS<br />#10: Share leadership.<br />Schools work best when teams of educators in each school can share the leadership load.<br />
  77. 77. Final Thoughts<br /> Our research reinforced how dedicated and how ready teachers are to sacrifice so students might learn.<br />
  78. 78. Final Thoughts<br /> The best work principals can do is to create spaces where teachers can teach.Teachers are not so interested in politics or mind games or anything else but teaching children!<br />
  79. 79. Thank you<br />