January 18, 2016

Happiness depends on ourselves.


Positive Work Environments

from Harvard Business Review, Sigal Barsade and Olivia O'Neill

Do the "micromoments" at your school match your mission and vision?

Being in tune to the day-to-day interactions in your school is a key ta assessing and managing the emotional culture. Small gestures and brief interactions may make a stronger statement about your culture than you think.

Some keys to creating a positive culture include:

  • Build on the positive feelings that already exist, and nurse them to happen more often. Encourage those bright, shiny staff members to keep on keeping on. They may not know how much you value their positive influence.
  • Model, model, model. Something as simple as your stance or the look on your face can spread emotion--good or bad.
  • "Fake it till you feel it." Research has shown that exhibiting positive emotions, even when you aren't on top of the world, helps grow a positive environment.

Blended, ch. 4

Rallying the team is that “push” your organization need to get moving. Next, you need to organize the right team members to attain that high-impact initiative. For one district this became glaringly apparent when, despite intense teacher training, very few teachers were using the tools the district hoped would help with their transformation to be more innovative. For this district, they stood to lose millions in grants if they could not demonstrate the innovations. They needed to bring the right people to the table, a balance of district level people who could address issues such as curriculum, architectural barriers, etc. with building level educators who could address how something might actually play out in the classroom.

So how many people do we need at the table? The answer is to have the right people to address four levels of problems or tasks:

  1. individual component performance;

  2. specifications for how components fit together;

  3. how components interfere with each other;

  4. development and implementation of a disruptive model.

As the levels progress, teams should progress from a more functional one that addresses just one part of the process where work is more self-contained,.to that of an autonomous team. When you are launching an entirely new model, you need an autonomous team that does not get mired down in the status quo, i.e. the traditional delivery method in the traditional classroom setting.

From Dave

We are on week three of David Conley’s “Four Keys to College and Career Readiness” (CCR)! The challenge posed in this section is focused on personal skills and techniques that maximize learning for each student. Student success in postsecondary learning endeavors is contingent upon their ability to possess true ownership of their learning, which is enhanced by specific “teachable” learning skills and techniques (Conley, 2014, p. 72).

Key learning skills and techniques. Efforts to develop students as independent and efficient learners support their journey to become lifelong learners. The traditional learning model which placed the teacher at the center, with students operating as passive participants, has led to low levels of engagement. Conversely, Conley (2014) reported improved achievement among students who display authentic ownership of their learning. The process of moving from the traditional teacher centered model requires a paradigm shift for teachers, but it also necessitates fostering “intersecting skills and dispositions” (p. 73) among students. Conley (2014) identified the following skills and dispositions related to developing student ownership of their learning:

· Goal Setting

· Motivation

· Progress Monitoring

· Persistence

· Help-seeking

· Self-efficacy

· Self-awareness

Student ownership of their learning is a key step in preparing for increased levels of CCR, but students will also need “a set of techniques to succeed in challenging and demanding learning situations” (Conley, 2014, p. 78). Several learning techniques have been highlighted as important for all students:

· Time Management

· Study Skills

· Test Taking Strategies

· Note Taking Strategies

· Memorization Strategies

· Strategic Reading Techniques

· Collaborative Learning Skills

· Proficiency in Utilizing Technology

The challenge before us is to not only prepare teachers for the shift to classrooms focused on student centered learning, but to also craft experiences that foster these “key learning skills and techniques” in students.