The question is simple, "What's working and how can we do more of it?" However, more often than not, we find ourselves asking the question, "What didn't work and how do we fix it?" Both questions help us reflect and get better at our practice, however the path we travel to get those answers looks different depending on the question we ask.
We have been using Improvement Science to help teachers solve problems of practice. Teachers have completed 3 learning cycles (Plan, Do, Study, Act cycles) over the course of the past 8 weeks. As the current semester comes to end we wanted to give teachers time to reflect on what behaviors they engaged in to improve their problem of practice while also creating an opportunity to share their learning with their colleagues.
To guide this work we used an adapted version of the Success Analysis Protocol. Teachers were divided into groups of 3. Next, we asked them to spend 5 minutes reflecting on their learning. They reviewed their PDSA cycle reflections and completed a think sheet with some guiding questions. Once everyone had a chance to reflect individually on the behaviors they engaged in to make their learning cycles a success, they had the chance to share their thinking with their groups. In groups of 3, one person shared while the other two group members listed. Once the person sharing was done, the other group members asked clarify and probing questions to help the presenter unpack all of the things he/she did in their practice to experience success with their change ideas (we called them "hacks"). Each person in the group had a chance to share their reflections and receive feedback from their colleagues.
After the three rounds were completed, we asked the trios to form one group 6 members . In these slightly larger groups we asked teachers to think about some of the underlying principals they discussed that contributed to their success and had the groups create a list of these behaviors. The final step of the process was to discuss how these successful behaviors can be used to impact our overall teaching practice, not simply the change ideas we tried during our PDSA cycles.
At the end of our PD session teachers were asked to form one final group. We transitioned into grade level teams, reviewed our success criteria, and discussed how these practices could be applied to our day to day work with each other and in our classrooms.
Taking time to reflect, discuss, and build off of our current successes helped teachers unpack the impact they have in the classroom and how they work together with colleagues. Here is the collective list of our successful behaviors:
Collecting Data and using it to learn new information
Commitment to learning something new
Considering kids needs and interests
Being observed by a peer
Being fully aware of what you are doing
Modeling different strategies
Being more intentional
Being more flexible
Providing more scaffolding
Becoming more aware of body language and gestures
Integrating a daily strategy into our routines (i.e. morning math question)
Reflecting in the moment rather than waiting until the end of the day
Empathizing with children’s feelings
Making materials more attractive, realistic, sensory centered, varied, and meaningful
Increase hands on, concrete activities
Flexible grouping structures (small group, 1:1:)
Creating opportunities to reflect on teaching
Setting clear expectations
Using tools such as social behavior mapping
Start with the simplest strategy first
Empathy interviews to gather data from students
Reflecting on data to inform my next teaching move
Using a strategy with one small group in a center but another to compare the results
Modeling examples and nonexamples
Using visual supports
Having students create “I can…” statements
Cross grade level collaboration
Video recording as a means of data collection and reflection