Practice Makes Fluent

practice makes fluentMelissa Bowen, Administrator and Certified Secondary CM Presenter, Salinas Union High School District
Guest blogger

Multiple and consistent opportunities for our English learners to practice the target language – not just with writing and reading but with speaking, too – are so important. This year our instructional coaching team decided to shadow an English learner student for the entire school day, and it was one of the saddest things I have ever witnessed.

The student I shadowed, along with many others, literally only had seconds of structured student talk time for the entire day.

Our English learners were literally sitting in each classroom in complete silence!

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289 Hits

Learning Walks: A Portal to Strengthening Practice

Refining instructional practice is hard work. It requires a positive learning environment – a safe place to take risks. It also requires real-time models to mark, watch, and study how others operate in the classroom, coupled with opportunities to investigate our professional practices and move us closer to instruction that promotes a thriving and productive learning environment for students.

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1987 Hits

Refining English Language Development: A district's journey

wilmaWilma Kozai, Director; former assistant superintendent, Grandview School District
Guest blogger

 Every school district faces daunting challenges in meeting diverse students’ needs. Some of these struggles are unique, but many are shared by multiple districts. Telling our stories of implementing new initiatives is a way for us to build our collective understanding of the practices and systems that help or hinder our progress towards achieving our goals.

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2310 Hits

Artful Questioning: Crafting inquiry for powerful collaboration

Collaboration has become a buzzword in education. Like many educational innovations, collaboration can be a vague concept that does not conjure up specific practices or actions. Yet when clearly understood and purposefully implemented, collaboration is a powerful aspect of ongoing, site-based professional development. So what are the key components of effective collaboration?

Clear purpose – People understand the reason for each specific meeting, what the outcome will be, and their role and responsibility within the group. Reasons for meeting can include planning for the next week or unit, or even outlining the next semester. The purpose can be analyzing student work for trends that will inform instructional next steps. Or it can be focused on solving a complex problem, such as: What are we doing to serve this particular group of students? Is this the right intervention and how do we know? How can team (or site) assets be leveraged to make the best use of resources for meeting student needs?

Trust  The collaborative team has a safe place for honest conversation to grapple with ideas and share struggles and successes without fear of judgment.

Reflective practices  Successful collaboration rests on a group’s investment in continual improvement. This depends on owning our own viewpoints and actions. We use self-reflection – both individual and collective – to assess our success and learning, and to own our role in the outcomes we are getting. When done well, collaboration results in positive forward movement.

One way to lead collaborative meetings while encouraging reflective practice is through the art of questioning. How we frame questions can bolster – or hinder – forward movement. That is, artful questioning leads to constructive reflection on our practice.

blog artful questioning chart1

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2493 Hits

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