Would Ideo's Annual Review Re-Design Work in Education?

Teachers often speak very poorly of administrator observations for a variety of reasons.
And by speak poorly I mean they loathe them, usually with a few expletives.
As teachers we know feedback is valuable, but often times we find the observation process either as “a waste of time” or worse, demoralizing.
I recently read about how the design company Ideo came into the Hogan Lovells Law Firm and re-designed their annual review for lawyers.
Here’s how the annual review worked after the re-design:

Within every four-month period, associates are supposed to actively solicit feedback from three different people they’ve worked with, including partners, assistants, and peers. Each of these feedback sessions is supposed to take the form of a 10-minute-long conversation, using a card with guided questions to keep the dialogue focused on what the person can do to improve. Once the associate has had all three conversations, he or she has another with a peer to talk through the feedback–almost like you’d do with a friend–help them process it, and think about how to incorporate it into their lives. (Article)

Naturally I couldn’t help but wonder what this might look like in a school.
I imagine it would involve observations still, probably by fellow teachers (or admin if the teacher so chooses). I suppose this brings the first problem – Would teachers be willing to give up their time to do this? Maybe for a more equitable and valuable evaluation, perhaps, but I could see this needing to be preceded by a lot of “selling” to the teachers.
But let’s say we get past that. The part I am really interested in is What would the guided questions on the card say?
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Coaching Language Teacher Development

I was asked recently, “How can I help my teachers get better?”
This is probably one of the most important jobs of a director or program coordinator. The teaching ability of your staff can make or break the quality of your program.
Unfortunately, helping teachers develop can be difficult. The first hurdle is the teacher has to want to get better. As teaching is quite a personal thing, teachers can often become defensive when suggestions of how to improve are offered.
Another problem is that teaching is very complicated. As an instructional coach, it can often be difficult to decide where to start. And in some cases, the point of development may not have a clear solution.
In this post, I will take you through my process for helping teachers to develop. It isn’t a quick fix, but I have found it has helped me achieve the vital goal of building the skills of a staff.
Continue reading “Coaching Language Teacher Development”

It Takes a School to Change a (10) Child

A friend of mine shared with me a huge choice he made at the end of last school year.
He volunteered to teach a remedial grade 6 class with a long history of behavior problems.
Their behavior problems are so bad that many (and I mean many) of their former teachers have moved on to other schools, specifically citing behavior issues as the reason.
Sounds exciting, right?
More like “What was he thinking?”
In this post, I want to reflect on the experiences he shared with me and discuss my take on the solution. Continue reading “It Takes a School to Change a (10) Child”

NCAA March Madness- Bringing Together Your Staff

March Madness is here!
It has been reported that “distracted employees cost businesses about $4 billion per year” (WalletHub.com). I buy into this statistic because for the next few weeks, I will be glued to ESPN, checking the updates, and constantly questioning the decisions I have made on my bracket. I am definitely part of the problem.
Many would argue that if brought into schools, the lack of productivity could be disastrous for student achievement. If teachers are focusing on their brackets, they are not focusing on their lessons. This means students will not be taught and may not learn.
So then why would I suggest that March Madness belongs in schools if clearly there are negative effects?
While I can see why people would be hesitant to promote March Madness in schools, potential gains are being overlooked. I feel that bringing March Madness into schools has a huge upside-improved school climate. Continue reading “NCAA March Madness- Bringing Together Your Staff”