Thursday, 9 December 2010

from teaching to learning reflection on

From Teaching to Learning-shifting the principals focus (a reflection on DuFour's proposal)

If you are a practicing administrator - feedback would be appreciated (would help me with my principal prep). 

Back to the basics. 
DuFour focuses on two words: instruction and learning. The message for readers to take away is that learning is more important than instruction… in a sense. He challenges the state and national standards set for principals to be instructional leaders. DuFour contests, “The focus on the principal as instructional leaders is flawed.” He believes that principal leadership should be focused on the advancement of staff and student learning rather than on individual teacher instructional strategies. DuFour strived for many years to be an exceptional instructional leader. He focused on individual teacher instruction and spent a great deal of time working one-on-one with teachers using a structured observation and feedback process. His work created positive outcomes, however, after many years and many hours spent on individual teachers and their teaching strategies, he realized that his focus was flawed. How were students doing? DuFour began changing his emphasis on instructional input into learning output where he would help teams of teachers prepare and guide students in achieving the school’s intended outcomes.

My first reaction was… it is just a matter of semantics, teaching-learning, they are pretty much the same thing as far as the principal’s role in leadership is concerned. I realized, however, that a focus on student learning is critical in driving teacher professional development. When comparing the difference between putting an emphasis on teaching strategies versus student learning, it comparable to a ME-ME-ME focus versus a THEM focus. DuFour compares it as a shift from inputs to outputs and intentions to results. Which would you prefer to have educators placing emphasis on when prepping for the academic year? Ultimately, we want the student learning to increase; so, I agree with DuFour that more benefits will come if the principal serves as a lead learner versus an instructional leader. 
DuFour said that shifting a focus on teaching to a focus on learning is more than semantics. He’s right. It is about a principal who understands his or her role as leader and maintains a school-wide culture where student and teacher learning is priority.   

...into my 'Principal Prep Notebook':
To shift the focus from teaching to learning, the principal leads teacher teams in completing the following:
1.      Clarify the essential outcomes of the course and the outcomes of each unit of instruction within the course. [“A school’s teachers cannot make student learning their focus until they know what each student needs to learn.”]
2.      Develop two assessments per semester and specify the standard of mastery for the assessment as well as for each subtest within the assessment. [“How will we know whether students have learned the essential outcomes?”]
3.      Analyze results and develop strategies for improvement on the basis of the analysis. [“Teachers set a bar for student performance and then work to ensure that each student can make it over that bar.”]
The lead learner’s (principal’s) responsibilities:
·       Provide collaboration time.
·       Set focus and parameters.
·       Establish process and guiding questions.
·       Provide training, resources, and support to help teachers overcome difficulties they encounter while developing outcomes, writing assessments, and analyzing student achievement data.
·       Give access to relevant, timely information on students’ performance.
·       Provide help in writing specific and measureable team improvement goals that focus on student learning rather than on their team activities.
·       Offer encouragement, recognition, and celebration.
·       Hold accountable individuals or teams who fail to fulfill responsibilities.

This post is in response to - 
DuFour, Richard. (2002). The Learning-Centered Principal. Educational Leadership. May, 2002. Vol.59, No.8, pp.12-15.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Health Education Blog