The Transparent Teacher: Taking Charge of Your Instruction with Peer-Collected Classroom Data

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9781118487174: The Transparent Teacher: Taking Charge of Your Instruction with Peer-Collected Classroom Data
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A new paradigm for teachers to open their classrooms and cultivate deep professional learning Teaching is an isolating profession. Most educators receive minimal feedback on their craft, typically limited to one or two short visits from the administrator each year. While some schools do encourage their teachers to observe peers, the usual protocol is for new teachers to watch the veteran, exemplary educators, but those less experienced educators could benefit immensely from having peers observe them in action.
Teacher-Driven Observation is unique in that it places the observed teacher as leader of the work, the one who identifies a personal area for development, engages her colleagues in the collection of classroom data, and utilizes the data collected to inform her ongoing instruction.

  • Offers a new model for collecting data to inform and improve individual instruction
  • Includes a step-by-step process for implementing Teacher-Driven Observations
  • Contains a comprehensive case study that clearly demonstrates the value of the Teacher-Driven Observation model
This book outlines and illustrates a step-by-step process for breaking down professional isolation and cultivating opportunities for meaningful learning through the Teacher-Driven Observation process.

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From the Author:

Q. How are traditional approaches to professional development short-changing teachers?
A. The daily challenges of teaching attract professionals with a desire to improve.  And yet, we've found in our own careers as teachers that all-too-often, opportunities for teachers' improvement--largely through formal training sessions--left us and our colleagues feeling like passive recipients of content that did not always speak to the challenges we experienced each day in our classrooms, with our students, and our content.  Teachers also attest to the challenge in transferring their learning from a conference room to the classroom and the absence of opportunities to practice and refine the new strategies they learn in formal settings. These challenges have collectively impeded the ability of traditional approaches to consistently impact teaching and learning.  Teachers want professional development opportunities that are closer to the experiences and challenges which they live in their classrooms each day.
Q. How is Teacher-Driven Observation different from other classroom observation models?
A. While there are handfuls of existing observation models, the primary learning in each of them is for someone other than the observed teacher.  In model classroom observations, the observers are the recipients of the primary learning.  In evaluation models, the process is directed by and the learning derived for the observer--usually an administrator or teacher leader.  Teacher-Driven Observation positions the observed teacher as the leader of the process.  She identifies and directs the focus of the observation on an area of personal interest and relevance.  In turn, she is the primary learner, utilizing the data her colleagues collect to improve her instruction.  This shift is critical, as it creates an opportunity for teachers to ground professional learning in their own classrooms and through doing so, creates focused opportunities for practice and refinement.
Q. Observations can be seen as threatening.  What recommendations can you offer to develop a culture of open practice in a school?
A. We have seen the four behaviors below reduce anxiety about observations, break down classroom isolation, and increase professional dialogue in schools:

  • Reposition the role of the observed teacher: When an observed teacher is given leadership of the observation process, it equips him to direct his own learning.  When a teacher invites his own colleagues into his classroom to collect data, it provides a meaningful opportunity for professional learning, building teachers' excitement and participation in the work.
  • Focus the observation:  Identifying a focus of an observation directs the attention of observers on a specific aspect of teaching and learning.  This narrows the observer's lens and promotes the collection of data on a specific aspect of teaching and learning.
  • Examine the data: Focusing our attention on what we see and hear in classrooms, rather than immediately drawing conclusions, provides a foundation for improvement-oriented conversations.  A structured protocol--which allocates time for first sharing the data and then making sense of it and discussing its instructional implications--is an essential tool in this process.
  • Examine the relationship between teaching and learning: With classroom data collected through Teacher-Driven Observation, teachers are equipped to focus on the relationship between teaching and learning. When post-observation conversations focus on this relationship, rather than on the teacher as an individual, teachers' comfort with observation grows.
When teachers are given the space to take charge of their learning through observations which examine a focus of relevance to them and observations are focused on the collection of data that examines the relationship between teaching and student learning, they becomes a process teachers value.
 
 

From the Back Cover:

The Transparent Teacher

Why do so many education fads come and go without making alasting impact on student learning? In The TransparentTeacher, Trent E. Kaufman and Emily Dolci Grimm describe howthe culture of isolation that teachers face in schools stymiesimprovement. Teachers need more open collaboration, the authorsargue, to meaningfully practice and refine their instruction.

This practical, comprehensive book outlines the authors' uniquemodel of Teacher-Driven Observation (TDO), which helpsteachers take charge of their own growth, effectiveness, andoverall job satisfaction using classroom data collected by peers.Written for teachers and administrators alike, the book includesexamples, tips, and a case study of a school that leveraged TDO toproduce impressive improvement in instruction and growth in studentoutcomes.

Praise for The Transparent Teacher

 

"Kaufman and Grimm offer a roadmap for crossing long-establishedteaching boundaries and provide the steps and examples necessary tomake it happen—they've thought of everything. As teachersread this book, they'll be motivated to implement TDO right away. Iwant to grab a colleague and participate in this practice myselfnow!"

Cindi Rigsbee, 2009 North Carolina Teacher of theYear; author, Finding Mrs. Warnecke: The Difference TeachersMake

"Everyone seems to have a voice in teacher observations todaybut teachers. This book offers a solution for principalsseeking a more meaningful way to leverage observations as a valuedand authentic opportunity for teachers' professional learning,dialogue, and development."

Dr. Fred DePrez, 2012 Arizona Principal of theYear; principal, Hamilton High School, Chandler, Arizona

"This book helps teachers become the empowered professionalsthey deserve to be. In moving PD from the conference room to theclassroom, these authors are elevating us all to the status oflearner."

Sarah Brown Wessling, 2010 National Teacher of theYear

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