Effective Teaching

In our final training session today, we discussed evaluation.  We asked and talked about the purpose of assessment and effective vs ineffective strategies.  We told a few funny stories and laughed about our short-comings.  But one thing that isn’t funny is that there is often a disconnect between what we evaluate, in terms of student work, and how we use the information to become better teachers, and better people.

Participants in GCE’s Educator Workshop answered the following prompt as comments to this blog:

  • What takeaways will you immediately apply to your teaching craft? How will you know if you’re effective/successful?

Please feel free to share your own thoughts too.


4 Responses to Effective Teaching

  1. Meagan Dimas says:

    I want to start planning all of my units using a thematic approach, beginning with a larger vision/intention in mind and then naturally allowing the activities to flow in – versus building shorter-sighted lessons built towards content and skill mastery.
    Once I begin implementing backwards design on ALL of my lessons I will be able to clearly identify for myself where I’m going and therefore will better be able to set clear expectations and guidelines for my students to follow. This will allow me to assess whether or not they “got it”.

  2. RR says:

    Q1: One of the more notable takeaways from today’s discussion was the importance of indentifying the WHY and HOW before the WHAT is determined. Equally valuable, this three-stage process should be a deliberative one which pushes the instructor to dialogue, reflect, and critically think about the course goals at each layer of construction.
    Q2: I will know when I am effective when my students have met the agreed upon on standards as best suited for each individual. Working with students to negotiate their individual goals implies that success will not be uniformed and will reflect the priorities of each student within the context of the courses overarching theme/ goals. Although the foundations of my rubric would be the same for all, this negotiation process will strengthen student’s sense of accountability, autonomy and overall buy-in.

  3. Melissa Kaufman says:

    Assessments are a form of communication and allow transparency between the teacher and student. Assessments allow students to view expectations and see more clearly where their strengths and weaknesses are, so that they can push themselves and ask the necessary questions to help them reach a goal. Recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses helps them as global citizens in that hopefully they recognize themselves as “forever learners” who constantly push themselves and those around them forward.

    • Create rubrics early on and make sure that what I want is clearly described for students in language that they understand.
    • Emphasize that a rubric can push the student forward and help them recognize their strengths and weaknesses
    • Get student and teacher feedback on rubrics
    • Discover the larger vision and use backward planning so that there is a common cord that flows through each lesson and project.
    • Success will come when students are able to articulate not only why they are doing something but find themselves going above and beyond by seeking more information or asking other questions in which they discover a completely new path.

  4. ErinB says:

    Today’s discussion got me thinking about the importance of simplicity in rubrics. For instance, categories and descriptors should be straightforward, and point values should not require teachers to “split hairs” about the difference between an 85% and an 87%, for example.

    Another thing I’ve been thinking about for a long time regarding rubrics, is that they are not the place for teachers to INSTRUCT students. Certainly they are instructive: they let students know how they will be assessed and what the teacher deems important for that final product. But too often I use the rubric as a place to mention things that I forgot or didn’t have time for during the instructional phase of the unit. This is not fair or effective for the students. The rubric is not a place for the teacher to deliver information about the content and skills that should’ve already been adequately delivered in the lessons. I think often if my rubric is too detailed it’s because I’m trying to compensate at the last minute for shortcomings in the lessons I taught…trying to fill in the gaps in places where I’m concerned the students missed something.

    The last two days have provided me with strategies and structures for improving my practice in designing and delivering curriculum. As I improve in those areas, I will naturally stop relying on rubrics in the manner described above.

    To be more fair, responsible, and effective in the way I use rubrics, I am going to start training students to use the rubrics as their guides while they are in the process of creating the final product. The rubric can be what prompts a student to make changes during revision. In other words, I would like students to be self-assessing during their production process so that by the time I give them feedback on the rubric at the end, they are already intimately familiar with the rubric language and have a good sense of what grade they will earn.

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