Reflections: The Key to Unlocking Success  

November 13, 2015

Kelly Clapp and I recently attended training at ESU 3 in Omaha which focused on differentiating feedback for teachers. Our goal was to find ideas and resources to bring back to ESU 10 staff and school leaders. Pete Hall, consultant for Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), was our facilitator. Mr. Hall formerly served as an elementary principal in Reno, Nevada and played a key leadership role in transforming his school. 

The training was based on Pete Hall’s book: Building Teachers’ Capacity for Success:  A Collaborative Approach for Coaches and School Leaders. He stated that everyone has the ability to be reflective, but people reflect in different ways. Mr. Hall shared that reflective educators are, aware of their instructional reality, intentional in their actions, and able to accurately assess. We learned how to utilize his Continuum of Self-Reflection to help leaders grow in their ability to differentiate feedback to teachers. 
There are four stages in the continuum including:  Unaware, Conscious, Action, and Refinement.

Capacity-Building Goals of the Continuum of Self-Reflection

1. Unaware Stage- To create awareness of the need for change and foster a desire to learn
2. Conscious Stage- To motivate and show how to apply pedagogical knowledge consistently
3. Action Stage- To build on experience and help strengthen expertise 
4. Refinement Stage- To encourage long-term growth and continued reflection

Mr. Hall informed us that most teachers fall into the conscious and action stages on the continuum. Building leaders can gain the most traction on creating reflective teachers by starting with teachers in the action phase. He stressed the importance of working with building staff to develop “look-fors” in classrooms and defining a common language for instruction. Feedback is an essential element in the reflection process and it is critical to ask and learn how teachers prefer to receive their feedback.

Goal setting is a key component in reflective processes. However, Mr. Hall emphasized that goal setting is not enough. Here are the odds of achieving a goal: 

 • No goal: 0%
 • Set a goal: 20%
 • Write it down: 45%
 • Accountability partner: 51%
 • Specific action steps: 86%

It is essential to develop action steps to accomplish goals and making time for self-reflection will assist in reaching goals. The Teaching and Learning Department has set the following goal for 2015-2016: 

ESU 10 Teaching and Learning Department will improve communication with stakeholders.

We are in the process of creating an action plan to ensure that we are taking steps toward reaching our goal. Pete Hall’s training was timely to assist in the work of our department as well as for work with our school leaders. Our department facilitated a Strategic Leadership workshop on September 23, 2015 with ESU 10 school leaders. We focused on the importance of developing an instructional model and creating a common language of instruction. Kelly and I felt that Pete’s messages aligned with the work we are facilitating at ESU 10 and in our school districts. This workshop provided new tools for our staff to assist ESU 10 schools.

-by Denise O'Brien, Teaching and Learning Director