How do we create cultures of continuous improvement in our schools?
Recently I blogged about teacher self-supervision and titled that post as “Part 1”. Well, you know that phrase, “the more you learn, the less you know?” In this follow up post I intended to talk about the importance of making sure that administrators and teachers have the skills and knowledge to give each other reflective, evidence based feedback as part of supporting effective self-supervision. However, I quickly realized as I started actually putting all of my ideas into practice, that feedback alone is not enough.
That being said, feedback is important and we have now done a two-part professional development on giving quality feedback–the response was very positive. We will be returning to the feedback conversation throughout the year. But I continuously worry that we will lose momentum.
How do we make giving feedback to each other, regularly getting into each other’s classrooms, and having reflective conversations just part of “who we are”?
At the moment, we seem to be getting it right. Teachers (and admin) are videoing themselves and reflecting on their lessons and staff trainings. People have formed PLCs and are independently meeting with specific goals in mind. We are having our first ever Teach Meet this week where teachers are sharing something new they are trying in their classroom. But I keep wondering how we are going to sustain the momentum. How will we “keep in fresh” three months out, six months out, next school year? I don’t have those answers yet and I think part of figuring that out is going to be ongoing, reflective conversations with teachers about what is working and what needs to change. But here are a few things that I believe must be in place for any of this to be possible in the first place:
- Creating safe spaces (to make mistakes and take risks) so that we can all, teachers and administrators, dare to de-privatize practice
- Giving people the tools and time to give honest, forward moving feedback (to quote Brené Brown, “Clear is kind, unclear is unkind”).
- Fostering a culture that celebrates innovation
- Making time for conversation and collaboration
- Creating coherence so that everyone has a clear direction and high expectations for themselves and their colleagues
- And finally, remembering to keep this all at the center so that we can support our ultimate goal of student learning.
Therefore these are some of the big ideas I will be working on/experimenting with for the rest of this school year and into the next.
What do you think? I would love to any feedback or ideas for how others are working towards or have created a culture of de-privatization and ongoing, self-directed learning. Please leave me a comment.