Monthly Archives: July 2018

How to Plan Your School Administration Process

There is no school without a proper network of education and administration. Schools and colleges need to understand the importance of it in order to survive in the education industry. Proper planning is required if an admin wants his/her academic institute to flourish in the market, therefore, a well-designed work plan need to be made available for the entire teaching staff so that no one has to depend on each other.

Before taking any major decisions, all a school needs to do is automate its paperwork and provide the academic institute with a well-organized administration system. After that, the admin needs to shove off all the extra working hands since most of them won’t be needed after cloud-based technology has entered the system. After the initial changes have been made, the admin needs to make sure all departments are digitized.  

Any person with basic knowledge of computers can be able to run the educational management software therefore; the admin needs to assign just one or two workers to handle the cloud-based administration system. As far as the education department is concerned, teachers don’t have to be over burdened with extra work such as counting piles or manually calculating exams. Digital school administration process is providing the teaching staff with the opportunity to focus on their teaching schedules rather than on various stressful methods of administration.

Once the entire academic institute has been automated, the admin can keep track all core departments from the palm of his/her hands via the smartphone app. All sorts of summaries, reports and records can be viewed, altered or published. With just a little administrative planning, any school no matter how small in size can prosper in the education industry.   

April is Diversity Awareness Month

April is Diversity Awareness Month, a celebration of our different races and cultures that make up the United States of America. Many schools, colleges and organizations are planning events to promote understanding and respect of all races and cultures.

As a bully prevention specialist, I see the value of diversity awareness. The more we understand, the more we are tolerant of each other.

February is Black History Month and April is Diversity Awareness Month. Both inspire us to want to learn about one another.

Desmond Tutu once said: “A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.”

The more we learn about each others cultures and beliefs the less likely we will believer our underlying assumptons, prejudice and mis-information about our neighbers.

I was speaking at a high school not too ong ago, when I arrived I was trying to locate the school office to sign in. I approached three girls in the hallway to ask for directions. They took one look at my right arm and screamed. (I have a birth defect, a short right hand with only two fingers.) After I finished my program on diversity, understanding and tolerance, all three girls came up to me with tears in their eyes apologizing for what they did.

This is a perfect example of why it is important to offer up diversity awareness; once these girls learned who I was, they were able to understand and respect me as a person.

“Respect is a critical element in all healthy relationships. When students respect others, they treat people with consideration and courtesy and do not violate them physically or verbally.” Wise Sklls Resource

If we want to put an end to the conflicts and bullying in our schools and in our workplaces, everyone must be committed to creating and implementing an ongoing diverse and all inclusive environment.

When our school administrators, business leaders and parents at home climb on board with an on going message of understanding and respect will our diversity peacefully thrive.

Diverstiy Awareness Month and Black History Month both are heritage celebrations and are vitally important reminders that our learning is continuous and involves a variety of races and cultures with experiences, identities and characteristics that our the foundation of the United States of America.

“America is not like a blanket… America is more like a quilt with many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven together and held together by a common thread.” Jesse Jackson

If we focus on our diversity for more than two months out of the year we will continuously refresh our commitment to bully prevention, equality and social justice.

Building a Culture of Reflective Practice and Collaborative Learning

I have been an educator for quite a few years and have enjoyed my time helping fellow educators and students grow by serving as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and Deputy Superintendent. These positions have all been evaluative. However in my current position as district literacy instructional coach, I serve as a support to both teachers and administrators.

In the book, Professional Capital, the only way to improve outcomes is to improve instruction.” (McKinsey & Co., 2007, p. 26). My district has implemented a coaching cycle that is designed to help teachers who need further assistance with their teaching practice. We help with many areas to include classroom management, planning, researching rigorous, hands -on  activities, content, questioning, modeling instruction, co-teaching, etc. These are the steps we follow assisting teachers to improve upon their instruction.

 

  • Step 1- Professional Development: This has been ongoing for teachers who teach students from PK3- 12th Grade in the area of literacy. This is held on individual campuses during teachers’ conference periods and after school by district as well as campus based literacy coaches. We also provide professional development offerings at a central location after school and many of our teachers. If a teacher attends professional development, the expectation is for him/her to implement the learning in the classroom.
  • Step 2- Modeling: In many cases the teacher may not have a full understanding of “how” to deliver the lesson. In this case, campus based coaches or district level coaches model for the teacher. Prior to modeling there are some steps that should be taken before the model lesson begins. The coach should meet with the teacher he/she will be working with to explain how you will support vocabulary instruction in his/her classroom. A date should be agreed upon followed by the coach and teacher planning the lesson. This will include selecting a text, choosing Tier 2 vocabulary words together with a discussion about the words chosen, and determining the plan for the 6 Step Explicit Vocabulary Instruction routine together. During the model teach lesson, the teacher will have the Vocabulary Instruction Observation Form to use as you are modeling to give you feedback and become familiar with the form you will provide feedback to them with when you actually watch them teach. After the lesson has been completed, debrief with the teacher discussing what he/she recorded on the observation form and answer any questions. Before leaving arrange a time to return to plan with the teacher and plan another date when you will come to observe him/her delivering the vocabulary lesson with the 6 Step Explicit Vocabulary Instruction routine.
  • Step 3- Observation and Feedback: Observe the planned lesson and use the form to provide targeted feedback to the teacher, making sure to arrange a time to provide the feedback on the same day if at all possible. This is the best case scenario.
  • Step 4- “Right on Time” Professional Development: During the debriefing session, if there is a part of the routine that the teacher needs additional help with, this is the “right on time” PD. Show it, discuss it, and provide whatever the teacher needs to improve the instructional delivery of the vocabulary lesson. Plan any follow up support at this time if that is necessary.
  • Step 5- Regular Communication with Campus Leaders: Ensure and share your plan and progress made of this coaching cycle activity with campus base administration. Share how the cycle is going and what positive actions or changes have occurred based on the cycle of support with the teacher. Campus administrators should observe improvement when they come to walk through the classroom as well.

 

This coaching cycle was designed to set teachers up for success. The beauty of it is, there is a reflective piece built in. That sometimes is the key to bettering our practice as educators because let’s face it, sometimes there just doesn’t seem like there is enough time to get it all done. In organized learning using the coaching cycle, here are different types of reflective practice:

  • Reflection in action (in the moment and improvising)
  • Reflection on action (after the fact on specific episodes)
  • Reflection about action (looking at the big picture)

Reflection is an integral part of teaching, to be professional and to improve practice on a continual basis. It is important for reflection to become a part of an educator’s daily routine.

 

Sometimes it is helpful to change the culture of the professional relationships of a school or district in order to improve the work. What I mean by that is sometimes in order for the change to take place, teachers learn to work collaboratively whether it’s with their team, other colleagues at work, or with administrators or coaches to be able to make informed instructional decisions based on feedback results. There is a need for positive feedback among teachers between themselves and from administrators. Feedback should act as a guide to teachers as it allows teachers to exercise their discretionary judgment in their classrooms but also gives teachers valuable feedback that would help those judgments be wise, well-founded, and effective. We want to avoid classroom conservatism is an environment where teachers do not share ideas or thoughts because they are insecure about how they are perceived or do not wish to share credit or think someone will take credit for their work.

Individualism, isolation and classroom conservatism institutionalize a conservative perception that inhibits professional learning, sharing, and collaboration.

 

We seek to build a collaborative culture in my school district. Trust and relationships come first in working with teachers. We strive to build a culture  which allows developing 21st century skills of innovation and creativity among teachers while adhering to the state standards. Teachers inquire together to work together to understand how to improve areas important to them. We want teachers to inquire together, to work together, and to understand how to improve areas important to them. They are guided by experienced collective judgment and where they are pushed forward by challenging conversations about effective and ineffective practices guided by experienced collective judgment and where they are pushed forward by challenging conversations about effective and ineffective practices.

 

We encourage teachers having challenging conversations, asking hard questions and working through the answers to better their teaching practice.

We want them to make decisions based on conversations and the relationships they build within the community from the feedback they receive. Sharing their success and failure and learning from those experiences is paramount to their growth as an educator. We are striving for teachers to continue with peer coaching which leads to mentoring and developing a variety of professional learner communities.

Descriptive versus Prescriptive another left-wing scam

The Left always wants to make the rules. Naturally they devised a sophistry to prevent others from making any rules at all.

Descriptive versus Prescriptive: another left-wing scam

 

Everywhere we look, we’ve got pompous professors telling us they don’t dare prescribe what’s right in language. No, no, no, no. It’s not their role. Nor yours either. People can express themselves as they wish. It’s America, the 21st century. God forbid we should tell anybody how to do anything.

“Weird Al” Yankovic put out a popular video called “Word Crimes.” It’s gotten almost 27,000,000 views. In effect, he says: “Hey, moron, do it the right way.” He got everybody talking about correct grammar. Boy, we needed that. Thanks, Weird Al.

Naturally, all the primly pontificating nuisances crawled out of the woodwork to tell us: Hey, stop all that prescribing! You can only describe.

And why?? Because when anthropologists go in the jungle to study a primitive culture, they must remember that the natives are the experts on their own language. Great. That’s fine and dandy. But that has nothing to do with how we should deal with our own language. How’s that, you want to know. You ask the relevant experts (teachers, novelists, journalists), average the answers, and that’s probably a good guide. But you certainly don’t listen to left-wing scam artists telling you that our experts are not allowed to speak, because anything they say would be prescriptive, and we don’t allow that when we go into the jungle on anthropological expeditions. Doesn’t this sophistry almost make your head spin?

But look again and it turns out there is a second sophistry on top of the first one. These discussions about natives, experts and ourselves casually presuppose that we are talking about adults. But many times, without ever acknowledging it, the discussion shifts over to school and the teaching of children. Isn’t it obvious, the freedom you might give to adults is not appropriately given to children?

In other words, when liberal sophisticates start discussing this issue, they always pose it in terms of freedom, creativity, self-expression, laissez-faire, do your own thing, and gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Sure, if you insist, adults can wear clothes inside-out and stay drunk. Let’s not waste time discussing it. If you want to arrange your sentences backwards and break every grammatical rule, go for it.

What we’re discussing now is what’s appropriate in the early grades at school. Teaching is typically prescriptive, and that’s how it should be. Schools should teach the right ways to do things. (This approach has got to be far more efficient than what many public schools are now doing: teach no ways at all, or teach all the ways as if none is preferable.)

Bottom line, what newspapers call Standard English should be taught first. That seems to be what our left-wing professors are eager to stop.

So what are the pros and cons? Do you let a child do anything the child wants? Are you doing children a favor if you allow them to go out with dirty faces or raggedy clothes? Isn’t it foolish to pretend that children live and learn in a vacuum?

It seems to me common sense and common decency to tell children what is typically done. With regard to language, this might require explaining regional variations, work-related slang, and even class differences. Most children can understand these ideas at a fairly young age. They probably already speak a different way with their friends than they do with their parents.

To pretend that all these nuances don’t exist is the opposite of teaching. To pretend that everything is equally acceptable is a nasty sort of nihilism.

Question is, why are liberals so eager to drown children in permissiveness and relativism? Who is being served? Just recently reports came out about a Chicago school that was teaching anal sex to fifth-graders. And this would be for whose benefit? The children? Oh, really?!? No, this is surely liberals trying to break down the last barriers.

Presumably we’re seeing that same world-view when schools refuse to teach grammar. I suspect the point, always, is power. The power to make the rules. The Left always maneuvers to control language, semantics, and education.

The sophistry prohibiting prescriptive grammar is not about grammar at all. It’s about the Left being able to tell everybody else how to talk, and how to think. (Note that the anti-prescriptive diktat is itself prescriptive!)

Liberals always want to play their ideological games, using kids as guinea pigs. If you don’t tell the kids what the prevailing rules are, the kids will be left in an intellectual wasteland. To excuse this, you have a whole Education Establishment boldly proclaiming that whatever little children say is just fine, whatever it is. No rules, guessing, and invented spelling, that’s what elementary education is for many.

But how can they justify all this logically? Well, some genius thought, why don’t we just bring back anthropological field work to our own society. We’ll announce (and argue with great indignation) that professional authors, English professors, and smart citizens who have used the language expertly for a lifetime have absolutely no special standing. They should shut up lest they be guilty of the crime of prescription. The Left has gotten away with this fluff for 75 years.

Aren’t you tired of left-wing professors using stupid sophistries to dumb down the schools? Here’s a plan: don’t accept stupid sophistries.

Interesting point: can’t you just bet that the natives themselves are totally prescriptive when it comes to their language and their young?

Importance Of Test And Examination At College Level

Examinations play a crucial role at the entry or exit level of college life. Many may feel it is prudent to skip it but the fact remains that it is a bad idea. Some of the top notch colleges are saying goodbye to final exams. As far as educational theory goes the concept of exams are supposed to benefit the students hugely. It offers the last opportunity of going through the study materials and filling in any gap present in understanding the concept. Forming the big picture after gleaning information from the courses over the year becomes easier and helps in learning the knowledge more thoroughly.

Regular and consistent preparation

Since exams are not to be taken lightly, students put in their best so that maximum retention takes place and the knowledge gained can be utilized in future in work or business. The constant pressure of exams is something that drives you to stay ahead of the class and prepare for the semesters in advance. It acts as a motivation for most and efforts are made to memorize the lessons all through the semester. Many serious pupils detest last minute cramming which serves no real purpose. It neither improves memory nor cognitive skills. Regular practice sessions help to better grasp the concepts and ideas that help in acquiring sound knowledge.

Doing away with exams

No matter how beneficial the process most students prefer not to give the cumulative exams in the final year and the decisions is wholeheartedly supported by the administration of a college because it means less work for them. Grading the students and correcting the scripts is another responsibility many would not like to take. Sometimes the final exams are made optional for students who are interested in it as a reward for the good performance in the semester. However students miss out the fact that both good and weak students stand to gain by the process. The revision work and preparation had been designed in the best interests of the students.

Grades over knowledge

Often the fact that the cumulative exams don’t consist of a sizeable chunk of the final exam and hence don’t affect the grades makes many students immune to the pressure of preparation. It keeps them stay away from crucial preparation which can otherwise benefit them. Education has become mechanical and all that most students can think of is getting good grades. The application of acquired knowledge in daily life is important but students rarely have time for that. Examinations help not only gauge the amount of knowledge but also work out the deficiency areas and making them strong. Problems and questions help to make out the amount of knowledge gathered and how strong the base is for further studying.

Work after final review

The process of grade submission does not allow enough time for reviewing the final exams. Students don’t show enough interest in meeting with the professors following the exams and undermine the references and letters of recommendations that professors are capable of. They are simply happy with the grades and how it can help in moving into the wide job market ahead. The knowledge after the review remains incomplete and the students are too busy to pay attention to that. Exams create a stress among students which contributes to their aversion for it. The amount of knowledge gained becomes negligible in front of the stress of good grades because they are highly necessary for bagging good jobs.

Running the last lap

College life is the last lap before entering the professional one wherein perseverance, time management, determination and motivation are important qualities that you will need to show later on. Exams and the preparation before that prepare you for the challenges in life not just knowledge-wise but also in terms of behavior. Controlling situations beyond your capacity with the help of acquired knowledge is something that you learn and practice here before the actual implementation. Escape from tests saves you from hard work that aids in character building and overcoming weaknesses which paves the way for future success. Stimulation of the thought process is important and what better way than answering difficult questions based on real life applications.