Saturday, January 16, 2010

Effective Schools Correlates: A Teachers' Life for Me!

Urucum (bixa orellana) seeds by árticotropical
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What is the core of teaching? What will make all the ideas, activities, books and lessons fall into place in the service to the education of students?

When I was a young teacher, I yearned to have THE answer. It seemed to me that there was an elusive ingredient to being a great teacher. In my mind it was like the golden ring at the merry-go-round. If I just worked, studied, and learned enough, I could grab the golden ring of education. As often happens with young people, I doubted myself. Even though I had wonderful grades, experiences and references, I was seduced into believing that there was ONE answer...a magic key to teaching.

Why did I search for the magic key? I wanted to be the best teacher in the world. I didn't want to doubt. I wanted to KNOW.

Being young, I thought there was always something else, some magic idea out there, that I didn't know, but there wasn't. Yes, there was plenty that I didn't know, but I hadn't figured out that there was no magic bullet that can replace the effective basics that help people learn well. It took some time for me to stop looking for something that I already owned. It took some time for the competitive energy of the student to be replaced by the collaborative efforts of the teacher.

When I was a new to teaching, I had already experienced the positive impression of learning that is based on the Effective Schools research model, encompassed by the SEVEN CORRELATES OF EFFECTIVENESS. I had learned them at the knee of all the effective teachers, community members and family members who taught me.

I also knew what a good teacher looked like as they worked in the classroom. Others might agree that they have had some great teachers, good teachers and not so good teachers, while some who attended the same classes might disagree with their list. What I didn't know, what I yearned to know seemed an elusive ingredient.

Over the years, as I gathered more knowledge and experience, I learned that what I really wanted was to evaluate the effectiveness of my teaching. I discovered that the Effective Schools Research movement could serve as a core set of organizing principles for my educational philosophy.

What are the Seven Correlates of the Effective Schools Research Movement?
  1. Instructional Leadership
  2. Clearly Stated and Focused Mission
  3. Safe and Positive Environment
  4. High Expectations for ALL Students
  5. Frequent Monitoring of Student Progress
  6. Maximize Learning Opportunities
  7. Positive Communication - School, Home, Community      
Are these ideas that people could define or describe? Are these ideas that you want to see in your school? In your teaching? In student's learning? Isn't this a support base for effective student learning? Isn't student learning what it's all about in our world?

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