Observe with an Asset Orientation

We have high expectations. We actively engage students. We observe to take notes on what they say and do. We are feeling on top of our formative data-gathering game!

Then, brain science enters the equation with humbling news: We don’t always see what’s right in front of us. This is especially true when we have implicit biases—which, as humans, we always do. We have all been conditioned by false narratives about racial difference, language hierarchies, and gender differences—whether we believe them or not.

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Observation Begins with Active Engagement

To get good observation data, we have to shift from traditional methods (like lectures and silent testing) to challenging, open-ended, collaborative tasks that actively engage students in processing and applying the new learning. If our learning is sit-and-get, there is nothing to observe but student behaviors of either compliance or disruption.

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Share the Surprise

When I dedicated my new bestseller to a family I had not seen in 25 years, I decided to travel to Mexico City to surprise them in person. Watch the moment I share the surprise.

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Engage Every Teacher in Raising EL Achievement

The caliber of core teaching has the greatest influence on whether or not our English Learners (ELs) thrive. Consider the following: Three in four U.S. classrooms have at least one student who is an English learner. Even in schools with EL specialists, ELs spend the majority of their instructional day with core classroom teachers. We know this, yet too often forget it when designing EL programs and solutions. Instead, many…

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