Use Observation Data to Reflect in Humble Inquiry

Our data shows some students are struggling in our lessons. Now what?

This is the pivotal moment.  Do we focus on providing supports to the students who demonstrate struggle? Or do we also focus on how to evolve our teaching? Are we using data only to sort students for services, or also to challenge our assumptions and change our approach?

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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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Expectations Define What We See

For observation data to matter, we need to be clear on our learning intentions. For it to matter for equity, we need to be aware of our biases and intentional about disrupting defaults of low expectations for students from historically-marginalized groups. What do you see as students engage? How do you interpret the data? How do your lived experiences shape what you see?

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A Tale of Two Teacher Collaborations

Every day—in classrooms, in staff rooms, in online communities—teachers come together to collaborate. We love to connect, build community, share ideas, and help each other better serve our kids. But is it always effective? Compare these approaches.

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Courageous Learning with Comics

Problem I don’t draw. Seriously, this is what I’ve told myself for most of my life. Yes, this was the humbling realization I had when reading Carol Dweck’s book Mindset years ago, as in other parts of my life I feel like a walking example of someone with a growth mindset. I thrive on challenges, on learning from failure, and all that. I take risks daily to push myself beyond what…

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Five Ways to Build Administrator Buy-In for Teacher Inquiry

Mention peer observation inquiry (OI) in education circles, and one of the first questions is always, “How do you build teacher buy-in?” It’s a critical question. Teacher leaders, however, ask another important question: “How do you build administrator buy-in and support for peer observation inquiry?” Here are five tips to help teacher leaders engage administrators in supporting effective, job-embedded professional learning.

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