Resources for Teachers and Instructional Coaches – October 2021

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It’s October, but we’ve rounded up resources for teachers and coaches that are anything but scary! This edition of noted content for educators includes how to lead more effective teacher PD, address teacher stress, and create a classroom culture of learning.

Our top picks for important October reads are below, with highlights, article links, and related content for you.

The push vs. pull of professional development

Resources for teachers often come in the form of school PD. But you’ve likely attended professional development sessions that felt like a slog.

In this ASCD article, professional learning expert Jim Knight talks about how to create momentum in PD with the analogy of a car. Instead of trying to push it up a hill, let gravity pull it down the other side.

What does this mean for educators sitting in professional development? Here’s the breakdown:

Two distinct strategies, push versus pull, also describe two different ways of designing professional development and coaching. When professional development is pushed onto teachers through compulsory workshops or advice-giving, it can be a lot like trying to push your car up the hill—a lot of work and not much progress. However, when professional development begins with teachers identifying a goal they really want to meet, the professional developer’s role shifts from directing to supporting and helping teachers achieve what matters deeply to them. Professional development that’s pulled by teachers’ goals is PD that will likely get to an identified destination.

“Pull” PD moves forward because of an emotionally compelling, powerful goal that matters deeply to the teacher and that will have a positive impact on
students.

“Push” PD, by contrast, is a remnant of old command-and-control models of leadership, in which a few smart people make most decisions and then put systems in place to push people to implement them.

Pull goes against some deeply engrained ideas about how organizations should be structured and how PD should be delivered, so it can be hard to embrace. Inevitably, too, there will be some forms of professional development that must be shared through a Push approach. But the more teachers have a voice in their learning, the more control they have over their own growth, and, indeed, the more teachers are treated like professionals, the more real change will happen—real change that leads to better experiences for students.

Read more at ASCD: Pull Versus Push Professional Development

Need help making sure your PD offers teachers what they actually need? Here are 5 key things about adult learners to incorporate into professional development.

Remedies for teacher stress do exist

Resources for teachers and school leaders often help with what goes on inside the classroom, but what about the stress and burnout that they take home?

Teacher stress is especially rising during the pandemic. So, what can educators do about it?

Research from Brown University’s EdResearch for Recovery offers several remedies.

Some remedies are self-evident, if difficult to implement quickly. Building a culture of mutual trust between teachers and administrators can improve relationships and even happiness. And schools that commit to achieving racial and social justice see less turnover and dissatisfaction from educators of color.

Others simply require flexible and willing school leaders. Asking teachers to help design professional development opportunities can boost morale. Likewise, giving teachers a break from administrative paperwork and supporting them when it comes to classroom management can improve teacher satisfaction.

Read the full post for all the strategies for combating teacher stress at EdSurge: Teachers Have Reached a Breaking Point. But Remedies Do Exist.

And here’s more from Harvard researcher Heather Hill about research-backed approaches for positive classroom environments, which have a great impact on teacher well-being. 

Take these 3 steps for a true classroom culture of learning 

Do your students see themselves as learners? Here are 3 strategies and resources for teachers that offer how to create a culture of learning and invest students in learning experiences.

1. When planning and examining classroom routines, focus on the students. What will the students learn, how will they learn it, and how will they demonstrate their learning? These questions follow the trajectory of the learning experience with an emphasis on the student.

2. Develop an asset-based approach to learning. Assets are valuable attributes that students bring to the classroom. Some assets are academic, and others include disposition, character traits, experiences, and interests that contribute to the classroom learning community.

3. Move the conversation away from learning loss. Instead, focus on the continuum of learning. With so much emphasis on what they didn’t learn over the last year, students may unintentionally be getting the message that they can’t catch up. Educators can address this by thoroughly familiarizing themselves with the learning progressions of standards, which introduce new skills and reinforce others. Knowing how standards are connected helps teachers support students in moving along the continuum and conveys a message of growth mindset to their students.

Read more at Edutopia: Creating a Culture of Learning

Missed last month’s edition of our Noted Content? Find our September resources for teachers and coaches here

 

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