Improving Teaching & Learning Through Shared Understanding of Effective Teaching
Over the past 4 ½ years here at ESU 10, one of the most important initiatives I have had the pleasure to work on has been implementing an instructional model in several ESU 10 schools. An instructional model is the shared agreement and language that teachers can use to identify what high quality teaching looks like, implemented in their classrooms. When teachers agree on, and can communicate about, research-based strategies, they can develop a sense of collective-efficacy, knowing that they have the tools and influence to move all students forward.
I have had the honor of assisting with implementation in three schools, and planning and providing all the professional development in three others. Most of the work I have done has focused on the Marzano Instructional Model. The Marzano model consists of 43 distinct elements of effective instruction within 9 design areas. Our work with this model focuses on elements that are appropriate for the time of year and type of learning going on in the classroom. For example, elements focused on communicating high expectations and building relationships are addressed at the beginning of a school year and elements focused around student engagement are the next ones addressed, since they are used every day in every class.
The Teaching and Learning Department has a goal of “Supporting the implementation and/or sustainability of professional learning for teachers and principals.” This has informed my work on implementing the Marzano model in our schools. For example, I am currently assisting a district to move toward deeper implementation of their “top ten” elements. This entails reviewing elements, planning for deep implementation, documenting their application, and preparing those teachers for feedback from administrators.
This work is challenging and rewarding and I always enjoy hearing from teachers in schools where we have done this work and seeing how it has affected their teaching and their students’ learning.