They See Us.

(This was the basis for my #140edu presentation called “They See Us” delivered on July 31, 2012 at the 92nd Street Y.  Slides for that presentation are found here)

My wife and I haven’t finished a conversation in nearly eight years.

What I mean is that the same conversations keep happening on a fairly regular basis–a sort of marital Groundhog day in which, our thoughts, still as profound as they were back when we first met, are never fully finished.  Rather, they are partly made then broken off as one or another emergency shrieks in from the outside:

  • Charlie poured the water from the tub into several of the small mini-Tupperware cups that Audrey set up for him on rim of the tub.
  • Parker got a bug lodged so far back in his eye that we actually couldn’t see it anymore.
  • Audrey hasn’t found the matching dance outfit and leggings to wear to the playground, because, everyone knows, and they really do, that you always wear leggings, a dance outfit, and rain-boots to the playground.  Sheesh, Dad.


We’ve practiced the art of relationship bookmarking–a highly adapted social skill in which you can pick up the fragments of interrupted conversations, often days later, and not have missed more than a few gist’s or so.  We have it down to an exact science.

Both of us being educators, our friends, parents and extended have some unique expectations for our kids.  They live with the stigma that they probably will do well in school because we are teachers and that they will love school because we obviously did. They also get the unique perks of having parents that are teachers: an odd love of stickers that smell or shine, the perpetual reliance on a 10-month calendar that no one else in the world above the age of 22 uses.

And we are hyper-aware of this, and our experience with our two oldest children and school has been rife with situations where we ask ourselves if the problem merits further looking into or whether it’s just a blip that the teacher shouldn’t be bothered with.

And it is those blips that began the stunted conversation that led to me being here.

It’s true that you are never the same once again as a person after having a child of your own.  I’m not here to argue that point.  What I do believe now is that after our children were born, our ideas about teaching changed.  It’s not as if having children suddenly opened up our empathetic pathways and we saw the light, but rather that certain things sharpened.

Our aspect ratio changed.

We realized we had some things to more consciously consider as we went back to our work as teachers.

Be present

We learned that we needed to be present when we were home.  We learned that the example we set in terms of our attention span and the gadgets that we have is of the utmost importance with our kids.

The same is true for the students we have.  We wanted to make sure our students feel like they have all of us, all the time.  There have been countless examples we remembered where a student wanted our attention and we just didn’t give it, or gave it with the most horrible body language.

We could see the message were sending when we were either plugged into our devices or too preoccupied with our own lives to be present in theirs, and we didn’t like it.  We are consciously aware of how much they matter and that what they say has value.

Be the teacher that you would want your child spending 45-40 hours a week with.

Both of us now work, and our kids are either in school or in childcare while we are there.  A typical day for us gives them a full eight hours in the care of another in one day.

Our children spend close to 25% of their week in the care of their teachers.

As we prepared for this, we really began to see how many of our students’ parents were in the same position.  How would that shape the work we did?

The time they spend with us has to be a time that is sacred, anticipated and adored.  Everything from the things we learn about to the space we learn in have to be designed with the idea that our job is to make them matter.  To make them love to learn and be with us.  Parents drop off their most prized possession every morning to us and say, “please take care of them and teach them,” and it’s our responsibility to to do just that.

Make the work matter

Parker, our seven-year-old, loves math.  Neither my wife nor I can figure out a) why he likes it so much, and b) where those tendencies stem from as not one of us can think our way out of a matrices or balance an equation to save our lives.  However, even he was struggling with measurement last year.  He muddled through that unit, with my wife and I being of whatever consolation we could, but did not truly grasp the concepts.

Then, in June, after school let out, our neighbor’s son learned from a cousin of his that you could make wallets out of duct tape, and he and Parker began asking if my wife if she could teach them how to do it.  Enter the world’s newest teaching tool–YouTube– and within minutes the three of them were on their way to learning how to make wallets out of duct tape.  But, each video stressed the need to be precise in the length of each piece of tape used to make the wallets.  Guess who learned measurement?

We both realized that the work we ask our students to do in school should at least make an effort at reaching kids where the duct tape wallets did for Parker.  Does it matter to them in a way that would push them to learn more about it on their own?

kids can see through it from a very early age.

Deliver the Goods

If you say you are going to do it, do it.  Nothing eats at me worse than when I make a promise to my kids that I don’t deliver on.  It doesn’t matter if the reason for not delivering is a natural disaster, seeing them disappointed is difficult to bear.

A wise colleague of mine told me when I arrived in a new district to spend the first year listening to the various constituents within that district and ask them what is one thing I could do to make their jobs easier.  Then, after listening, spend the next year trying to make that one thing happen for that group.

We need to be wary of the promises we make to children, because we as adults have learned that there is disappointment all around.  But the children we teach have not.  Let’s not be their first lesson in it.

 

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Culling the Story from the Sources

If ever there was a time to be good at telling stories, it is now.

For the past two weeks, I have been attending the James Madison Seminar in American History at Princeton University.  We’ve been immersed in the elements surrounding the birth of our nation, most specifically how the ideas of Republicanism, Liberalism, and the Enlightenment all had tremendous influence over the founding of our nation.

Most of what we have done has been fairly traditional: we’ve sat in class and been talked to, albeit by some talented and learned folks.

Today, however, looked and felt very different.

We spent the day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art exploring collections within the museum and architecture in nearby Fairmount Park.  Doing so amounted, in my opinion to some real moments of clarity regarding what we do as teachers, and specifically as teachers of history.

One of our guides, Justina Barrett, took us through two homes in Fairmount Park managed by the museum: Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove.  The houses were distinctly different in their architecture and function, but Ms. Barrett, in her discussion of the homes crystallized something for me.  On the second floor of Mount Pleasant, she asked us a simple question about how they came to know what each of the rooms functioned as during the initial life of the home (over 225 years ago).  With that question as a springboard, she spoke about how the job of a historian, especially art/architectural historians is to cull the story from the homes, the historical record, and each room individually.  Her main role, and that of teachers of history for that matter, is to deduce an interpretation of what happened right from the primary sources.

Think about that.

We laugh at how little people in later life remember of the “stuff” of history, but I ask, if they forgot a good amount of the stuff, but could still distill a relevant story from several sources, was the stuff important?

Secondly, during our time in the museum itself, we examined the following works:

I’d forgotten what it was like to sit around with a group of intelligent folks and dissect a work of art, fully basking in the multitude of perspectives each one of us brings to the painting.  The work of Peale astounded me, and as our guide, Mary Teeling, explained, brought forth so many of the ideals we have spent time studying over the course of the last two weeks.  Peale was a natural philosopher, a true enlightened man, who brought into his work the polymathic principles of the period.

Ms. Teeling asked us to examine these pieces with playfulness, to see what came to us and what struck us.  We took stabs, we built off of one another, we contradicted one another.  I thought for a while on the way home about how much fun that was to project out those thoughts and then listen as the group interpreted them or rejected them.

Sadly, in education, whether in teaching our students or in collaborating with colleagues, we rarely get that time to build what is known as neuroplasticity–that time we take to re-shape our minds through engaging play.  Today provided a window into that for me once again, and gave me that time to wrangle with some conflicting ideas, and it took a visual medium to do that.

The Last Two Weeks: Getting it onto the Page

It’s been an interesting three weeks in which I’ve had the opportunity to learn from several “edulebrities,” and my head is just about full.  It came to a boiling point today during Diana Laufenberg’s “Embracing Failure” session at the NJECC Conference when I realized that some of the ideas we were sharing had appeared in several of the other experiences over the last three weeks.

So what follows below are a few ideas that I’ve decided to put out here in raw form.  The three conferences I was able to attend, NJASCD Annual Conference, TeachMeetNJ, and the NJECC Conference, all pushed me to think deeply and collaboratively, as all the notes were taken with groups of people.

TeachMeet NJ

Harkness Method.

This was shared by David Korfhage who teachers History at Montclair Kimberley Academy.  I had heard of the Harkness Method, but David did a wonderful job explaining how he employs it.  It reminded me of Socratic Seminars, but less structured.
•    arranged desks in a circle (ideally a big table).
•    once the discussion is going is to let the students drive the discussion (at least 80%).
•    teachers need to be comfortable with silence.

Lyn Hilt.  Lyn, who is someone I have followed on twitter for a while, really impressed me with her stories about changing professional development within her building.  She described how she employed Atlassian’s idea of “FedEx Days” at her school during one of the scheduled Professional Development Days.  If you’re not familiar with this idea, essentially she gave her staff the day to work on whatever they wanted to, but at the end of the day, they had to present their idea and the work they did to their colleagues.

NJASCD

From Linda Darling-Hammond:
On Testing culture and the cult of one right answer:

  • “There’s a lot of scrimmages, but not a lot of games.”  This is due to feedback.
  • Feedback needs to be given not only the “scorable” aspects of learning, but also on how to problem solve.
  • Kids never become habitual in their capacity to become competent–meaning that they don’t see themselves as able to solve things well.
  • once kids take on ownership of the bad side “I’m not good at…” then it is very difficult to remove them.
  • It’s less threatening to not do their homework, than to do it and get it wrong for fixed mindset.

ON Carol Dweck’s work on Mindset:

  • is intelligence fixed?  Or is it elastic?
  • Two types of kids get trapped by a fixed mindset:
    • GT kids.
    • kids that figure things out quickly early on.
  • There is no correlation between when your kid learns to read and how well they read later on.
  • Great teachers move kids out of a fixed mindset into a growth mindset.

PDA: Professional Development Academy

  • to ready teachers to lead and ensure the success of a professional learning community.

The district created an academy focused on keeping a cohort of teachers together for one year, and provided them with resources, time, and consistent support outside of the classroom.  Interesting piece they did to establish the continuity between the program: long-term subs were matched with teachers so that they began to understand the functions of the individual classrooms.

From NJECC

Diana Laufenberg keynoted the conference and really struck a chord with me regarding her use of improvisation with students and her desire to put them in real spaces and let them do meaningful work.  Diana has a unique ability to trust that the students she teaches will rise to the challenges she gives to them without smothering their thinking or tainting it with her own ideas.

  • Diana is talking about change as meaning incompetence in what we already did.  I love framing it this way
  • I really like how she used the term “mourn the loss,” when referring to asking teachers to change what they do.  They must first mourn the loss of the old.
  • School trains them to be less curious.  Let’s flip that around.  We are natural explorers.
  • The idea of teaching improvisation as a skill
  • We need to change our classrooms into spaces that are less us more them, where there voices are heard and honored.
  • Another great piece from SLA: their LMS designed for reflection was outstanding.  Each space allows kids to not only turn in assignments, but also reflect on them in public.
  • Let’s teach failure.  Not how to do it, but rather, what to do once it happens.

Making the Case for the Humanities

Earlier this week, I was asked to speak to the parents of our upcoming 8th graders in the district I work in.  Rather than walking them through the courses available to them or answering specific questions regarding readings, requirements or subject matter–all of which I invited questions by email about–I chose a different tack.

I’m in the process of trying to redesign two departments K-12 with an eye on transforming learning practices and raising the expectations for our students.  I wanted to outline some of the pressures we as educators face, as well as show that students today are inundated with information.

I wanted them to know that learning in today’s world looks different than it did when they were in school.

This is what I came up with.  I’d love to hear your feedback:

We Need You to be the Lead Learner.

[slideshare id=4806056&doc=nyscate2010-100721094405-phpapp02]

This morning I had the opportunity to present at the New York State Association for Computers and Technology in Education’s annual Leadership Summit in Troy, NY.  When I pitched the proposal a few months ago, I was really leaning heavily on technology as the focus: what strategies could leaders employ to model learning and collaboration?  As the last few months have unfolded and my thinking has been influenced less by technology and Web 2.0 and more by things like Understanding by Design and designing learning communities, the impetus behind this presentation changed to reflect that.

Above is the slide deck I used, which, as the participants in the session will concur, most of which we did not see.  Again, we took time to talk to one another and to discuss some of the questions that came up, which is the real reason why we were there.  However, when I began designing this in its slide form last week, I wanted to do it in the style that I would ask a teacher to design a unit of study, so I used UbD to do it.  I started with what I wanted my audience to leave with: my transfer goal.  I came up with this:

I want you to learn the specific challenges facing education today so that, in the long run, you will be able to, on your own, create innovative and collaborative solutions to overcome them.

From that point I looked at the understandings they would need to have

  • Students today are not as academically tech savvy as they need to be.
  • We take in an enormous amount of data each day as consumers and our students need to be equipped to handle it critically.
  • Leaders responsibilities include that of growing future leaders, and in doing so, we must model the behaviors that we deem valuable for leaders to have: willingness to try and of fail, transparent learning, and collaboration.

and the questions I would use with them to help guide them:

  • Do the teachers in your district own the technology, or do the students?
  • Are your teachers more technology “savvy” than the students?  Is that a problem?
  • What is the dominant mode of learning in your school/district?
  • What is your role as a leader in your school/district?

From there, I realized that there would be no real way to assess them as they left the presentation, but I felt good about designing the presentation this way.  It had that “walk-the-walk” feel to it as I put it together and delivered it, and there is a lot to be said for feeling that way about the work you do.

In a nutshell, if students’ intake of information breaks down like this:

Should your classroom instruction look like this

or this?

There is no right answer here, but the real meaning lies in the discussions that have to happen along the way to deciding what they look like.  I spoke today about the lack of “grey area” thinkers as espoused by Dan Meyer in his TEDxNYED talk, and it applies here.  Leaders need to be very comfortable with difficult conversations about what we expect of our students and our teachers.  We need to be able to confront people’s belief systems (nod to Andy Greene).

A Foray into the Paperless Fray

Today we were fortunate to Skype in Shelley Blake-Plock into a lunch-hour session in our high school.  Blake-Plock, the driving force behind the recent paperless push by educators on Earth Day, spoke to our staff about his classroom design, philosophy, and practice in a 45-minute session today.

When I originally contacted Shelley last week to inquire as to whether or not he would be willing to talk to my staff, he jumped right in, and he didn’t disappoint.  What impressed me most about him as I listened to him describe his practice was his clear vision of what it meant for his students to function in a classroom that he designed: it was about them learning.  He truly designed the environment with their learning–their unbridled learning–in mind.  His decision was not a secretarial one, but rather came from a desire to push students to take control of information gathering, processing, and creating.

At one point, a teacher from our Social Studies department asked about how he assesses his students if he doesn’t give tests or quizzes on paper.  Did he design them through some sort of CMS in the formed of timed essays, or online quizzes?

Shelley’s answer was flat-out brilliant.  He described the manner in which students are required to keep a blog that he is tied into via RSS, and daily they add content to that blog in the form of class notes, personal reflections, or other media.  His assessment then becomes his analysis of their thinking and reaction, and he does this using screencasting (he uses Jing).  This way, instead of notes in the margin that are loosely tied to anchors in the text, he can pinpoint exactly where in the writing he is talking about and offer precise, quasi-one-on-one feedback even though he is not present.  I just dug this.  We often bemoan our students willingness to skip past any comments we make on their writing in their desperate rush to find out their grade, but what Shelley is doing is removing much of that and asking students to take constant feedback and do something with it.  Our teachers have long lamented the amount of grading that has to be done, our parents and students complain about the length of time it takes to get it back, and all research shows that feedback given after a certain point is nearly useless to the student in terms of increasing achievement.

What if they got feedback consistently over time?  Would that change the final outcome (the grade)?  In my follow-up with the staff, I am going to be sure to inquire about that one.  With a budget that includes nearly 60% of supplies being cut, looking at alternative options in terms of assessment–and those options that are grounded in formative assessment–is necessary.

Bruner’s Law

Bruner’s Law -we want kids to regard success and failure as information not as reward and punishment.

Last week, I had the pleasure meeting and listening to Alfie Kohn talk about the topics of homework and grading.  At one point he mentioned the something he called Bruner’s Law.  Of the many things that struck me during the discussion (or lecture, I should say), this one was the most important.

Kohn referenced the work of Carol Dweck and others who have worked with motivation, praise and punishment and studied the effect of all three on learning over time.  What they’ve found, and I know that I am over-generalizing here, is that students who are rewarded with grades do poorly when compared with students who are not given grades on similar assignments.  Interestingly too, is that the bigger the reward promised, the worse the graded group did.

The room, at this point, was full of shaking heads and “that can’t be true’s” and “not in my experiences’s.”

There would be no more radical shift in education as we know it to remove the concept of reward and punishment.  Think deeply about the ramifications that would follow: A’s are good, A+’s are better.  This college is good, that one is better.  Behaving this way is good, but that way is better.  Behaviorism still dominates many of our practices, both in the classroom and in our institutional structure.  What worries me most is that we have begun to educate students in the practices of doing school and succeeding in this system–will they be able to recognize that there is  better way?  How many times will we have to hear “is this graded?” or “will this be on the midterm?” before it is lost in the name of taking risks for the sole purpose of getting information about what you can and cannot do yet?

In regards to Bruner’s Law, Kohn gave us a choice:

If you agree:

  1. You have to get rid of grades
  2. If you are going to sit down with parents and students to think about constructing assessment from the ground up, what can we do so that we don’t violate Bruner’s Law. How do we assess their learning so that they are more likely to regard their successes and failures as information.

And if you don’t agree, you better have a good reason for dismissing what the data shows about homework and grading and their effect on student motivation and learning.

I highly recommend hearing Alfie Kohn speak if he is coming to your area.  Find a listing of his speaking engagements here.  And here are a copy of my notes from the session: feel free to add your own ideas too!

The Embedded Curriculum

(Caveat: I haven’t written anything worthwhile in some time, so I apologize for this post’s and any subsequent posts’ inherent lack of quality voice.  These writing muscles are near atrophied.)

This phrase has often been spoken of as the aspects of your curriculum you don’t explicitly state as your objectives: socialization, team-building, self-expression, etc.  These are the words that don’t fit neatly into state standards documents.

After spending my spring and summer of this past year creating and editing new curriculum for over twenty new courses, I am noticing something else in regards to the term “embedded curriculum.”  It’s the ability to get students the tools they need.  It’s not an add-on anymore.  It’s necessary and vital to the success of not only the programs we create for them, but to their success after they leave us.

In our district, every teacher from grades six through twelve has a laptop (either a tablet PC, a MacBook, or a standard laptop), so at that level we have put tools in the hands of the teachers.  We’ve automated and digitized much of their administrative tasks: our SIS handles all grading, scheduling, attendance, conduct, and record-keeping, all lesson plans are done via our online lesson planner, we have more than half of our K-12 population with Moodle accounts, our Google Apps will be up and running in days, and I could go on.

But what does it all mean?

Our teachers are very wired, but our kids don’t have the same access.

For the most part.

We’ve begun the “Great Netbook Experiment,” in twelve of our classrooms at the middle school.  Initial returns are positive, but I haven’t seen the dynamic change yet.  What does your classroom look like when you have ten laptops that are always available?  How does your teaching change?  How can your students learn differently?  These are questions I need answers to before I go heavy in that direction.

Recently, we’ve been interviewing for another position in the district, and one of the candidates really hooked me when he stated that the next big hurdle for schools was to put the power to learn back into the hands of students.  For me, that means moving the focus from giving the teachers the technology towards putting it in the hands of the students.

So when I sit down this year to re-create our Journalism class, my focus is going to be on giving these students the tools of new media specialists, the kind that Mark S. Luckie speaks about in his new book, “The Digital Journalist’s Handbook.” When I sit down to work with our Mandarin Chinese teacher to formalize his curriculum from 6-12, I’ll ask him which tools he’ll need to make his student successful.  Wacom Tablets?  Headsets for conversing?  We have to start tipping the scales in favor of the question “what could they do if they had…” and go from there.  If there is no money for it, fine.  But at least let’s start there.

An Admission

I feel more connected to family and friends because of social technologies.

There, I said it.  It felt a little dirty, I’ll admit.  That statement, in some circles and according to some pundits is completely off-base.  Social networks, while revolutionizing both mainstream media and our own personal connection to media, are shouldering the blame for a lack of interpersonal skills exhibited by students in our schools.  The video game industry is breathing a collective sigh of relief now that Facebook has become the main target of these barbs.

Granted, I am not basing this on any scientific research, just conversations among teachers over the course of the last few weeks; however, the verdict among the teachers I speak with is clear: social networks are changing the ethics and definition of the word “friend.”  What we share within our online networks, be them Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, MySpace (does anyone still use this?), or in any other of the numerous networks, is much more than we have ever been able to share in our face-to-face networks.  Is that bad?  Is hyper-social a negative?  Is it that the opportunities for us to share have never been so numerous or easy, and we would have done this generations ago if our parents had simply let us talk on the phone all the time instead of the 10-minute chunk of time we had per evening?

But that’s not the real issue that I’ve been hearing about.  It’s the questions of what they are sharing and should they be sharing it at all.  Call it what you will: digital citizenship, new literacy, digital ethics, digital footprint, the fact of the matter remains that students ages 5-22 are doling out personal information to people they consider “friends” whose very inclusion into said category would not match the traditional standards of that term by their parents’ standards.  So we need to get a working definition here.  What is a friend?  How do your students, colleagues, or close personal contacts define the term?  Google says it’s these:

  • a person you know well and regard with affection and trust; “he was my best friend at the university”
  • ally: an associate who provides cooperation or assistance; “he’s a good ally in fight”
  • acquaintance: a person with whom you are acquainted; “I have trouble remembering the names of all my acquaintances”; “we are friends of the family”
  • supporter: a person who backs a politician or a team etc.; “all their supporters came out for the game”; “they are friends of the library”

Taking these, the third one looks to bear the most resemblance to what most students are using as their defining criteria.  Are our student tossing around the moniker of friend when they really mean something more akin to acquaintance?  The difference, while subtle, is huge in the connotation of the word.  Friend is deep, acquaintance is shallow.

Personally, since I have been a participant in the networks I have created, I’ve noticed deeper connection to those individuals in my life whom I would call friend in any context, and I’ve been able to acquaint myself with many individuals with like interest in the areas I have rooted interest in.  In the chances where I have had to meet individuals from the networks I am a part of and share a conversation, it’s added a dimension, or should I say removed a barrier, to that relationship.  We’ve had a chance to converse in some form before actually meeting, or even speaking in most cases.

We lament the ease with which our students share information about themselves and to whom they bestow the title of friend.  But to what extent are they doing much the same things that we are, only in a manner that speaks to their rooted interests?  Understandably, we need to make sure they are being safe and they understand the rules of the “game” but has this become a question of mere semantics for them?  Is a friend a friend, or is it not?

Anagnoresis and Peripiteia

In my house, we are huge fans of Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel (we call it “Yucky Jobs”).  I saw his name pop up in my iTunes library the other day in my TED Talks subscription and I wondered what this was going to be about.

Rowe speaks of two elements that arrived in his mind at a moment that no one can likely relate to.  These elements, anagnoresis and peripiteia, which I am sure I once used in a literary analysis back in the day, both deal with Aristotelian tragedy.  Anagnoresis, which is a literary device used to show how the protagonist moves from ignorance to discovery, Rowe used to describe the awakening he had at the moment when he was illuminated by his faulty reasoning, and peripiteia, the point in a tragedy whereby the tragic lead realizes the irony of the moment he or she is in (think Oedipus realizing that his wife is not who he thinks she is), he shows us that there may be a whole string of faulty reasonings that underpin his belief system.

Heady, I know.

The idea that it takes a moment of unexpected clarity or irony to show us our flawed assumptions is scary, in that we could last a long time in our own rut until that moment occurs.  Rowe’s ultimeate discovery is that he feels he should challenge all of his “platitudes.”  For example, in the talk, Rowe points out that if people took the advice and “followed their passion,” we would have a whole lot of economic difficulty within this country.  See this pig farmer’s story. Rather than follow a passion, what if we just “looked and saw which direction everyone else is moving in, and moved the other way.”  What if we just analyzed situations to find where the needs were, and acted upon that?

His ultimate understanding was this:

dirtyjobs

As I watched the talk and gained a new appreciation for Mike and the show, I did what I always end up doing–I related it to my own work.  What if the ideas I hold dear in education, the very things I have been focusing on over the last few years, are wrong?

It made me go back to my notes from BLC last summer.  I’ve mentioned this before, but on the last day of the conference I hadn’t planned on attending Dr. Pedro Noguera‘s keynote, but I ended up there.  Three things I wrote in my notes were triggered by what Rowe talked about:

  • Too often we use this equation: Talking=Teaching.
  • We shouldn’t be asking what does good teaching look like, but rather what does good learning look like.
  • We need to connect the way we teach to the way they learn.

I hadn’t thought about Noguera’s ideas that much lately, and hearing Rowe talk about anagnoresis and peripiteia brought them back.  What is it about education that causes you to lose focus on the big ideas that should be driving you?  I’d like to shift the focus onto student learning; I’d like to be listening to students the way Ryan has been and getting feedback from students on how they learn best, and I’d like to share that information with teachers that will act on it.  These are the types of discoveries that lead to real change.

I am guilty of trying to find out what “good teaching” looks like through my observation of teachers.  Perhaps I should have been looking at what the students were doing.